Slovakia vs England Preview: Big Sam takes charge of first Three Lions match

Sam Allardyce takes his England side to Slovakia as England kick off their World Cup 2018 qualifiers.

Slovakia vs England Preview: Big Sam takes charge of first Three Lions match
Image source: Sky Sports

It’s the dawn of a new era for the three lions. After a dismal campaign at Euro 2016 which saw to the departure of Roy Hodgson, Sam Allardyce is now in charge as he looks to restore a similar pride that the nation showed in our Team GB Olympic team.

His first tie comes with a trip to Slovakia on Sunday evening as England begin their World Cup 2018 qualifying campaign.

Wayne Rooney, remaining England captain, will lead out his men at the City Arena stadium knowing only a convincing win will begin to rebuild the relationship between fans and the players.

A dream for Allardyce

New manager Allardyce will take charge of his first match for the national team, a job he has long coveted after being knocked back on previous occasions.

But with the FA now ready to give the Englishman a shot at the job, despite not necessarily being a fan favourite because of his well-documented ‘negative’ style of play and a seemingly rather empty managerial trophy cabinet, the former Sunderland boss will make sure his side are very well drilled and are assured of their individual roles, something England lacked in France this summer.  

It may be considered the toughest tie of a group that England will expect to top, but nothing other than three points in Trnava are needed if Big Sam is to get the early doubters off of his back.

Big Sam will be looking to put his own stamp on the England team. (Photo source: Mail online/ Getty Images)
Big Sam will be looking to put his own stamp on the England team. (Photo source: Mail online/ Getty Images)

Selection headache

No matter what side Allardyce chooses it will be precariously analysed by pundits and fans alike, every detail will be compared to that of a Hodgson side.

Of course much of the personnel will remain the same from the summer but how they are deployed will be interesting to see.

The omission of Ross Barkley and Jack Wilshire were major eyebrow raisers upon the squad announcement, as well as the inclusion of West Ham's Michael Antonio who could make his international debut on Sunday night.  

Reports state that Allardyce is likely to field eight of the eleven players that started that humiliating tie against Iceland at the Euros, with John Stones, Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson expected to start.

The last time the sides met

The sides last met just 75 days ago at the Euros in a goalless draw that saw England make six changes to the side that beat Wales in the previous tie.

An uninspiring performance for the three lions saw them struggle to breakdown a resolute Slovakian defence.

Jamie Vardy and Dele Alli both had good chances for England but failed to break the deadlock in Saint-Etienne as England lost their momentum.