New England manager Sam Allardyce offered a robust defence of his suitability for the role and declared himself tough enough to overcome the demands of the job during his official unveiling.
Allardyce is the man chosen to guide England from the ashes of a humiliating Euro 2016 exit at the hands of minnows Iceland in the last-16 stage and build on predecessor Roy Hodgson’s uninspiring four-year spell in charge.
The lack of a major trophy on his managerial CV is something which has been levied at the 61-year-old since his appointment, although Allardyce believes his achievements within football are undervalued.
“People see me as being able to turn a club around very quickly and I suppose that comes with taking West Ham up, saving Blackburn Rovers and now saving Sunderland,” said Allardyce. “I consider myself much more than that but that is the label I’ve been left with.
“When it comes to winning no trophies or cups, unfortunately as an English manager I never really got the chance to go right to the top of the Premier League. But look at what I’ve achieved over the years, like not being relegated, and they are big achievements, difficult to do.
“They don’t hold the same category as winning the FA Cup, Capital One Cup or winning the league but it’s very important today in the Premier League to secure a club’s financial status, which is a difficult thing.”
Allardyce pointed to his use of Jermain Defoe as a lone striker as proof that he did not rely on long-ball tactics to save relegation-threatened Sunderland, having taken over in October 2015 with the Black Cats second-bottom and winless in eight matches.
“Style of play has always been a tag which I can’t shake but at Sunderland I played with Jermain Defoe down the middle on his own at 5ft 10in,” added Allardyce.
“We were told Jermain was a player who could not play up front on his own, so what does he do? Play up front on his own all season, scoring 15 goals in the Premier League.”
Allardyce, who was interviewed for the England job in 2006 but lost out to Steve McClaren, has confirmed that his former Bolton assistant Sammy Lee will be part of his coaching staff. The future of Wayne Rooney as England captain, however, is less certain.
“It’s far too early to make any predictions,” said Allardyce. “I’m going to leave that until we meet all the players and get all the coaching staff together and plan for the internationals in September.”
The Dudley-born former centre-half’s reign in charge of the Three Lions begins with a World Cup qualifier against Slovakia on 4 September – the first of many challenges which Allardyce insists he is equipped to navigate.
He added: “I’m hardened over many, many years. You toughen yourself for whatever job you take. You take the good with the bad, otherwise you don’t do it, don’t bother. Bring it on.”