London (AFP) – New England manager Sam Allardyce told his players to use their shock Euro 2016 exit at the hands of Iceland as motivation for the future on Saturday.
The 61-year-old was named on Friday as the successor to Roy Hodgson, who resigned after his team bowed out of the Euros in France with a 2-1 defeat to Iceland in the last 16.
Allardyce, who dramatically kept Sunderland in the Premier League last season, wants a young England team to stay positive despite the recent disappointments.
“It’s a very bitter experience as we all know but that inner drive… Players should keep that, they should hold it and use it as a positive, say ‘we don’t want to experience that again’,” he said in an interview with FATV.
“I think first and foremost it’s about regaining, perhaps, a bit of confidence they have lost after the Euros.
“Let’s get started from day one. Let’s put that to bed, let’s start delivering, gain from the experience that you gained at the Euros.
“We are going to get into the qualifiers, try to qualify for the World Cup and when we go next time we’re better prepared, I think mentally, to succeed.”
Allardyce, who was overlooked for the England job when Steve McClaren was appointed for his ill-fated spell as manager in 2006, brings a wealth of experience having managed five different Premier League clubs.
But his task is a difficult one as England remain without a major trophy since their World Cup triumph 50 years ago, and without a semi-final appearance since hosting Euro 96.
He also used his first interview as manager to give a rallying call to the English supporters.
“There’s nothing wrong with England fans, they have supported the team through thick and thin and there’s nothing wrong with the support they give,” he said.
“Fans will get behind you if you’re hitting that level. If you’re showing that passion and commitment but ultimately that quality, that team spirit they recognise they will get behind it and support you.
“We all have to face criticism at this level; the level of criticism sometimes is far greater at international level because it’s just a short time together, but also praise is also far greater as well.
“We have to accept both for what it is.”
Allardyce’s two-year deal includes the task of trying to bring a clear identity to the junior sides as well as the first team.