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Allardyce hired to manage England, wants to restore pride


LONDON (AP) Sam Allardyce pledged to make England proud of its perennially-underperforming national team after being hired as its manager on Friday, following an embarrassing European Championship showing under Roy Hodgson.

In a break from previous lengthy deals for managers, the English Football Association only handed Allardyce an initial two-year contract through the 2018 World Cup after securing his release from Premier League club Sunderland.

Allardyce takes over one of football's most high-profile and challenging jobs after a 25-year management career that yielded no major trophies but won him plaudits for over-achieving with modest teams.

''It is no secret that this is the role I have always wanted,'' Allardyce said. ''For me, it is absolutely the best job in English football. I will do everything I can to help England do well and give our nation the success our fans deserve.

''Above all, we have to make the people and the whole country proud.''

The 61-year-old Allardyce, like Hodgson, was never selected by England during his playing career.

Hodgson's hopes of extending his four-year stint with England were dashed when its Euro 2016 campaign ended in June with a humbling loss to Iceland in the round of 16.

The FA also said Allardyce has a ''mandate to shape a strong, purposeful team identity and maximize the performance potential of a young, talented England squad at a major tournament.''

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Allardyce's immediate priority is to take England to the 2018 World Cup, with qualifying starting in September.

''I know we have talented, committed players,'' Allardyce said, ''and it is time for us to deliver.''

Allardyce has never managed a leading club, once joking if his name was ''Allardici'' he would have secured one of the top Premier League jobs that typically go to foreign coaches.

Allardyce's only experience outside England is in the now-defunct UEFA Cup with Bolton, where he spent eight years. It was while at Bolton, where Allardyce spent much of his playing career, that he was overlooked for the England job in 2006.

Allardyce, who has also managed Newcastle, Blackburn and West Ham, has a reputation for improving struggling teams - qualities which the FA recognized in hiring a respected and passionate homegrown coach.

''His excellent managerial credentials, including his ability to realize the potential of players and teams, develop a strong team ethos and embrace modern methods that enhance performance, made him the outstanding choice,'' FA chief executive Martin Glenn said.

Allardyce's appointment was the result of what Glenn called a ''thorough process'' over three weeks.

''We could not help but be energized by his personal perspective on England's future and how it complemented the extensive work that we are looking to build on at St. George's Park,'' Glenn said, referencing the England team training base in central England.

Allardyce's England debut will be a friendly at Wembley Stadium on Sept. 1, before taking his team to Slovakia for the first World Cup qualifier on Sept. 4.