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Allardyce emerges as front runner for England job

London, Wednesday

Sam Allardyce strides away from his interview to be the next manager of England on Tuesday having discussed his ambition with the FA’s kingmakers. Sportsmail’s exclusive picture shows Big Sam leaving the first formal interview to replace Roy Hodgson, with the secrets of his presentation in his £1,000 Louis Vuitton man-bag.

Allardyce flew back from Sunderland’s pre-season training camp in Austria, a move seen by the FA’s senior figures as a significant gesture. It was claimed he was on club duty in England to discuss transfer targets, but on Wednesday the club confirmed that they had given permission, at Allardyce’s request, for him to talk to the FA, and calling for a swift resolution.

‘The Football Association contacted Sunderland AFC to seek permission to speak with our manager as part of what was supposed to be a confidential discussion process with potential candidates for the position of England manager,’ read the club’s statement.

‘At Sam Allardyce’s request, we agreed to this.‘Sam is very much key to our plans. After what was an extremely challenging season, we are keen to see a period of stability, both on and off the field, and we want him to remain as manager of our football club.

‘The ongoing speculation over Sam’s position is extremely damaging to Sunderland AFC, particularly at this crucial time of the season and we urge the FA to respect the disruption that this process is causing and bring about a swift resolution to the matter.’

As Sportsmail revealed, the Sunderland boss was called to the Cheshire home of David Gill, the FA vice-chairman and key member of the three-man panel that will select Hodgson’s successor. FA technical boss Dan Ashworth and chief executive Martin Glenn were also at the meeting, with Allardyce’s chances of landing the top job in English football boosted by a personal endorsement from Sir Alex Ferguson. -AFP

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