Sam Allardyce says England would win this year's World Cup if he was manager
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Sam Allardyce has said he would win this winter's World Cup if he was England manager – and named Harry Maguire and Conor Coady in a starting XI that would supposedly lift football's biggest prize.
The 68-year-old does, of course, have history with the Three Lions.
Back in 2016, the former Bolton and West Ham boss penned a two-year contract to become England's new manager, succeeding Roy Hodgson in the hot seat.
But Allardyce's dream job lasted just 67 days after an undercover sting filmed him suggesting to reporters how to 'get around' FIFA's third-party ownership rules.
He only managed one game – a World Cup qualifier against Slovakia – and the rest is history as Gareth Southgate took over.
Allardyce hasn't managed since stepping down as West Brom manager at the end of the 2020–21 campaign, but he reckons he could lift the World Cup this winter.
In a recent appearance on William Hill and Footy Accumulators’ new podcast The No Tippy Tappy Football Podcast, 'Big Sam', who was also joined by former assistant Sammy Lee, was convinced he could lead this Three Lions team to their first tournament win since 1966.
"Yes, definitely with this squad, yes," he said, before Lee added: "Yes, we would back ourselves."
So what would his starting XI be? "We’d go for Jordan Pickford in goal, Reece James, Harry Maguire, Conor Coady and Luke Shaw in defence," Allardyce explained.
"Declan Rice in midfield and Jude Bellingham alongside him, along with Mason Mount. Harry Kane up front, and we’ll go with Bukayo Saka and Phil Foden. We’d be celebrating with that, this team would win the World Cup."
Allardyce also says he has doubts over whether Southate and his players have what it takes to go one better and lift the trophy in Qatar.
“Well certainly the progress has been fantastic, but there’s always been the disappointment at the end of it.
“The semi-final at that last World Cup – they didn’t quite make the final but it was a fantastic journey. And the journey in the Euros was even better, of course, but sadly they didn’t get over the line when they took the lead in both of those games.
“My fear lies with getting there again in this World Cup and having the courage to see it through. That’s not just the players; that’s the staff, the managers, Gareth Southgate, everybody. Making the right decisions, picking the right team, picking the right tactics and the players holding their nerve and the excitement of playing in a final and getting the best out of them.
"You need to play your best game you’ve ever played when you play in a World Cup final.”
Allardyce isn't the only former Premier League manager to name their strongest England XI of late. In an interview with SPORTbible earlier this year, Neil Warnock explained his choices in detail.
The former Sheffield United boss also named Jordan Pickford as his first-choice goalkeeper, while Ben White, Dan Burn and Marcus Rashford featured in his 26-man squad.
In fact, Warnock predicted Rashford would come good this season in the days after Erik ten Hag's appointment.
"He has been a little bit subdued in the past 12 months but I think Rashford will get a new lease of life under Erik ten Hag, especially if Ronaldo does leave," Warnock said.
"And that's no disrespect to Ronaldo. He's a fantastic player but I do think it's slowed down the progress of somebody like Rashford.
"I think Marcus will have a good start to the season and turn Gareth's head. I think he's as good as anyone beyond Kane."