Sam Allardyce’s secret England diary

England manager Sam Allardyce's immediate task is to lead England to qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA.

England manager Sam Allardyce's immediate task is to lead England to qualification for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Credit: Martin Rickett/PA.

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New England boss Sam Allardyce’s diary will make for interesting reading over the next year or so. Grant Woodward gazes into his crystal ball and imagines what it might contain...

SEPTEMBER 4, 2016

Don’t know why they call it “The Impossible Job”, this managing England business is easy! 3-0 against Solvakia in our first World Cup qualifier will do very nicely. Russia here we come! Was pleased to see the lads take my different ways of thinking on board. Even thought for a minute Raheem Sterling was trying out the transcendental meditation I’d shown him, but then realised he was just engrossed in a particularly intense game of Fifa with Daniel Sturridge.

OCTOBER 7, 2016

Slight cock-up today at the press conference for the Malta game. Accidentally referred to Jack Wilshere as “Jack Wheelchair” when asked about our injury problems. Think I got away with it though.

OCTOBER 8, 2016

“Wheelchair” slip-up on front page of all the tabloids this morning. Tried to phone Jack to apologise only to be told it was outside visiting hours so they couldn’t put me through. Still, another win under our belts, although grateful Malta had that goal disallowed. Just shows there are no easy games in international football these days. Not sure anyone’s ever said that before.

OCTOBER 11, 2016

Bit of a setback losing to Slovenia but nothing to get too worried about. Rot started with Joe Hart letting in that corner. He was distraught in the dressing room afterwards. The lads said he was worried he’d lose his Head and Shoulders advert.

Got a strange phone call just before midnight. It came up as Roy Hodgson’s number but when I answered all I could hear was someone laughing in the background. Weird.

NOVEMBER 11, 2016

Press are going to get stuck into me after the goalless draw against Scotland but Big Sam’s man enough to take it. Thinking I might have to drop Rooney though. Have a feeling Wayne realises it himself. Got a text from him at 1am offering to play in central defence next game. Woke up to another at 3am saying he’d play in goal.

JUNE 10, 2017

Told ITV the fans were right to boo us at the final whistle. Losing 4-1 at Hampden Park isn’t good enough. I’m not one for excuses but Dele Alli knocking himself out on that lamppost while playing Pokemon Go two days before didn’t help. Tricky situation too before we set off when I had to ask Wayne to get off the coach. “But why boss?” “Because I didn’t pick you, son,” I said. Drastic measures needed. I’ve already put the call in to Andy Carroll.

OCTOBER 6, 2017

Do or die time now after letting in that last-minute winner against Slovenia. Must beat Lithuania on Sunday to qualify. Worked on crosses for Andy Carroll in training – he even reached one or two of them. Had to remind the lads he’s only 6ft 4in. Rest of the other balls only got about four feet off the ground. With that in mind have decided to stick Jermain Defoe up front with him. Got a nice text from Steve McLaren wishing me luck for the game. Told me the forecast for Vilnius didn’t look too clever and I should probably take a brolly. Cheers Stevie!

OCTOBER 8, 2017

Never in doubt! Delighted with Andy and Jermain’s goals – just goes to show what a tactical genius I am! We didn’t even need Kevin Nolan to come off the bench in the end. Next stop Russia. Now just have to hope we avoid any big guns in the group stages. Like Iceland.

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