Sam Allardyce

Sam Allardyce

The Football Association (FA), the English football governing body, on Friday named Sunderland AFC manager Sam Allardyce as the new England manager, handing him an initial two-year contract.

The 61-year-old signed an initial two-year deal after compensation was agreed with Sunderland, whom he steered to Premier League safety last season.

He succeeds Roy Hodgson, who quit after England were knocked out of Euro 2016 in the last 16 by Iceland.

Allardyce, whose first game in charge will be a friendly at Wembley on Sept. 1 against as yet unnamed opponents, said he was “honoured’’ to be given the job.

“It is no secret that this is the role I have always wanted. For me, it is absolutely the best job in English football.

“I will do everything I can to help England do well and give our nation the success our fans deserve. Above all, we have to make the people and the whole country proud,’’ he added.

FA chief executive Martin Glenn, while speaking on the development, said: “His excellent managerial credentials, including his ability to realise the potential of players and teams, develop a strong team ethos and embrace modern methods that enhance performance, made him the outstanding

“We could not help but be energised by his personal perspective on England’s future.’’

A statement on the FA’s website said Allardyce’s primary target is qualification for the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.

“But he is also charged with helping technical director Dan Ashworth integrate and strengthen the FA’s elite performance and coaching programme across the England senior and development teams at St George’s Park,’’ it said.

Allardyce’s first competitive match will be in Slovakia on Sept. 4 as England begin their qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup.

He leaves Sunderland after nine months and the Black Cats are now looking for their ninth manager in eight years.

A statement from the club read: “The focus of everyone at Sunderland AFC is on moving forward quickly and decisively, with the appointment of the club’s new manager to be confirmed at the earliest opportunity.’’

Allardyce, a former manager at Bolton Wanderers, Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham United, has thus become the 14th permanent England manager.

He has never won a major trophy but did win promotion to the Premier League with Bolton, Newcastle and West Ham.

Allardyce has been endorsed by his fellow managers, including Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, former England manager Sven Goran-Eriksson and ex-Tottenham Spurs manager Harry Redknapp.

Mourinho said Allardyce was “more than ready’’ to lead the national side, while Redknapp said he would bring “a Premier League style and pace’’ to the national side.

Former FA director David Davies said his appointment was a challenge for English football.

“This is the person the League Managers’ Association probably would have wanted.

“Now will the clubs actually go out of their way to help the national team because they’ve got the person they wanted – one of their own?’’

Allardyce was first interviewed for the England job following Eriksson’s departure after the 2006 World Cup in Germany, but Steve McClaren was appointed.

He has been vocal about his disappointment in not being selected then.

This time he was the early favourite, chosen by a three-man FA panel of Glenn, Ashworth and vice-chairman David Gill ahead of Steve Bruce.

Bruce has since gone on to resigned as Hull City manager on Friday.

Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe and USA manager Jurgen Klinsmann were reported as potential candidates, but it is not known how many other interviews were conducted.

The FA panel had said it wanted a strong-minded and tactically savvy manager who could build a clear team identity.

Glenn said the new manager would need to “build resilience’’ in players.

He said this would enable them deal with criticism on social media and the pressures of an “intensely passionate’’ English media.

Neil McDonald, who has worked alongside Allardyce at three Premier League clubs, said: “He gives the players everything they need to perform to the highest level and lets them express themselves as much as they possibly can.

“He’s been in the game a long time, he’s won a lot of games and a lot of respect off everybody and it’s well deserved to be given the England job.

“He should have had one of the big four, big six jobs in the past. But the clubs he’s gone to he’s always improved them and improved the players.’’