Kevin Bell: I don't envy Sam Allardyce telling England fans that improvement is likely to be slow
Sam Allardyce’s first game in charge of England, against Slovakia, ended in a victory uglier than a brawl in a dockside bar.
Cue much hand wringing and blather about nothing having changed since the same teams faced one another in the Group stage of the Euros.
One significant change, which was somewhat grudgingly acknowledged, was of course the result.
However, that crucial difference apart there has not been huge change.
The squad that went to the European Championships in June was a young one and, Jermain Defoe aside, about the best available.
Allardyce was therefore without many options for change in terms of player selection.
Much as I was sad to see Allardyce leave SAFC for England and think he did a wonderful job on Wearside, I think that England have swapped one 50 point per season manager in Roy Hodgson for another in Big Sam.
It would be odd if a few weeks after the first game against the same opposition and tactics, the same players managed by a similar, albeit better coach, there were huge differences in the performance.
Allardyce has the ability to improve England but the tools at his disposal are not currently of the quality required to win a major tournament.
I don’t envy Sam the job of telling England fans and the media that improvement is likely to be slow and the gains marginal.