Sunderland AFC transfer news: Ex-assistant backs Allardyce for England, Napoli linked with Cats winger

Sam Allardyce has been hailed the "prime candidate" for the vacant England manager's job by one of his former assistants.

Tuesday, 12th July 2016, 10:41 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:47 pm
Sam Allardyce has been backed for the England job by Phil Brown

Close friend Phil Brown believes the Sunderland manager - currently the bookies favourite for the job - is the ideal candidate to give England their identity back.

Allardyce lost out to Steve McClaren 10 years ago but he has been heavily linked with the job this time around.

Brown told talkSPORT: "We lost our identity at the Euros.

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"Passion - that’s what was missing. We witnessed a great tournament by Wales and we witnessed great games from Ireland and Northern Ireland.

"The one thing you associate with English supporters and the one thing you would normally associate with England players, would be the passion.

"But we let ourselves down from a passion point of view, especially in the game against Iceland, and that’s unforgivable.

"Sam wouldn’t allow that. If it happens once, it would never happen again with him.

"These players need to understand that they represent their country.

"Bring your quality and your little bits of magic, that’s what these players can do, but it’s the understanding of what playing for the badge is all about - that’s what Sam would bring.

"He also just brings the common man to the game again. He was brought up in Bolton and spent the majority of his time in Lancashire.

"It’s the common man who supports the game and it’s who you need to relate to, and I think that’s what Sam would bring as well.

"I think he’s a prime candidate," added Brown, who spent six years as Allardyce's number two at Bolton.

Sam Allardyce has returned to the UK from Sunderland’s pre-season training camp in Austria to fast-track talks with a transfer target.

The Sunderland squad enjoyed a day off at their base in the Alps yesterday, with Allardyce taking the opportunity to return to these shores in a bid to end the Black Cats’ search for a breakthrough in the transfer market

Brown added: "I think he would talk to the FA, yes. He’d be a foolish man not to because it’s been one of his personal ambitions for years.

"When he got to the last two with Steve McClaren last time he was bitterly disappointed he didn't get the job.

"I think the job is his if he wants it, if you ask me. There aren’t many prime English candidates about.

"The pinnacle of any manager’s career is at an international level. If your country comes calling, it’s a no-brainer."

Meanwhile, Napoli are the latest Italian side to be linked with a move for Sunderland and Italy winger Emanuele Giaccherini

Giaccherini’s contract at the Stadium of Light is hefty - around the £40,000 a week mark - and he has just turned 31, but there are no shortage of suitors for him.

A gaggle of Italian clubs are hovering for a player who continued to prove his suitability in Serie A last season and has an asking price which is a modest £2million.