When we all last saw the English national team, there were certainly more questions than answers. After a 2-1 Euro 2016 defeat at the hands of Iceland in the round of 16, manager Roy Hodgson stepped down, and former Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has stepped into right the ship.
After missing out on the manager position in 2006, Big Sam appears ready for the challenge in a role that he has been working towards his entire career.
Stops at Bolton, Newcastle United and West Ham United, showcased his ability to produce a squad capable of competing in the English Premier League.
He often was able to save clubs in danger of relegation, most recently with Sunderland last term
With England’s roster quality and resources, there is a sense that there should be more.
We take a look at what to expect as Sam Allardyce prepares for his first match in charge against Slovakia in 2018 World Cup qualifying on Sunday.
One of the greatest strengths that Allardyce brings is his organisation and attention to detail. His teams are always well-prepared and understand what they will be facing from their opposition.
This attribute was part of what helped keep Sunderland in the Premier League for the 2016-17 season.
Taking over the Black Cats in October of last year, Allardyce found a team unable to score and stuck in the relegation zone.
His adjustments and tactics eventually paid off, and the club was able to stay in the English top flight.
A former defender in his younger days, the sense of urgency that Allardyce is able to instil in his players and ability to motivate should see a side that is ready to fight.
After their performance at Euro 2016, that is exactly what English supporters will want to see on Sunday.
KEEPING THE 4-3-3 FORMATION
Roy Hodgson used the 4-3-3 formation often during his time in charge of England mainly because of the players at his disposal.
With options like Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge available, it made sense use their pace on the wings with captain Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane positioned centrally.
Allardyce will be using this formation to get the most out his players as well.
Despite often using one striker up top and focusing on a strong defensive structure in previous positions (think Jermain Defoe at Sunderland and Andy Carroll at West Ham), Allardyce will want to see a more progressive approach.
While his tactics are often labelled as “Route 1” and “longball”, Big Sam will be keen to show that this is not the case with England.
Allardyce will want to be able to display how this is his team, as opposed to what has been shown over the past few years.
It is a difficult transition for any national team manager, as changes can often take time before actually seeing the desired results.
Where he will be able to make an impact is ensuring that the youth contingent available to the Three Lions gets adequate time on the pitch.
Players like Dele Alli, Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw and Ross Barkley may receive an even greater chance to shine under the new regime at the English national team.