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England boss Sam Allardyce wants winter break in Premier League for sake of player fitness

Allardyce was also asked about Rooney's captaincy but was non-committal on that topic

Sam Allardyce press conference England manager
Sam Allardyce was unveiled as the new England manager at at St George's Park

New England boss Sam Allardyce was unveiled by the Football Association today and the manager also said in his first press conference after taking over the job that Wayne Rooney may or may not be the captain of the side. The 61-year-old was officially announced as the new Three Lions boss on 22 July after Roy Hodgson had stepped down following a disappointing Round of 16 exit to Iceland at Euro 2016.

“It was 10 years since I was last interviewed and to sit here is a huge thrill to me,” Allardyce said. “I have the experience to pass on and to challenge myself.

“I think five Premier League clubs has given me a huge amount of experience. It’s the most any manager has managed at, five clubs. Man-management is my thing. I want players to enjoy themselves and to improve.”

When asked about whether Rooney would continue to be the captain, Allardyce refused to answer the question but at the same time he was non-committal. Rooney was one of many Premier League stars who disappointed at the summer tournament in France in spite of putting in fine performances in the qualifiers where England had a 100% winning record in the 10 matches they played.

The Manchester United captain was deployed in midfield to allow the likes of Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Daniel Sturridge to lead the line and was unable to make a significant impact in France.

“No, I’m not answering that,” Allardyce said. “It’s too early to say.”

‘Big Sam’, as he is popularly known, was then asked what style of play he would bring to the table and he described it in one word – “Pragmatic.”

“The bonding of the team is exceptionally important and trying to get the group together. I want my team to have fun.”

Sam Allardyce England manager press conference
Allardyce wants a winter break so players can catch a break during the season

Allardyce wants winter break in Premier League

The former Sunderland boss was asked to give his ideas on how the players could be helped and he supported the argument that many managers and players have made in the past – to introduce a winter break in England. While most leagues shut shop for three to four weeks in December-January, English teams end up playing more fixtures due to the heavily congested fixture calendar.

“I've been an advocate of a mid-season break for about 10 years,” he said. “The demand physically and mentally on the players is enormous.

“A break would help the players and would help the national team. January and February is always the most difficult period.”

The Three Lions boss was also reminded that he had never won anything significant and whether that would be a hurdle when dealing with the players. However, Allardyce said it would not be an issue as he had managed many world class players over the course of his career. 

“I might not have won trophies,” Allardyce explained. “But I've worked with world class players: Okocha, Djorkaeff, Anelka, Speed, Owen...”

“Working with world-class players makes your job easier, and I hope that will happen with England.”

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