HomeEuro 2024EnglandSam Allardyce: Portugal's Ronaldo Problem

Sam Allardyce: Portugal’s Ronaldo Problem

Sam Allardyce’s Insights: Ronaldo’s Role and England’s Strategy

Former England manager Sam Allardyce recently shared his candid opinions on Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo and England’s tactical decisions on the No Tippy Tappy Football podcast, brought to you by William Hill and Footy Accumulators. His observations highlight the challenges and potential strategies for both national teams as they navigate their respective competitions.

The Ronaldo Dilemma: To Drop or Not to Drop?

In a discussion that’s likely to resonate with football fans worldwide, Allardyce expressed his doubts about Portugal manager Roberto Martínez’s willingness to drop the underperforming Cristiano Ronaldo. “Given the talent that Portugal have in their squad, I think they’ve been quite disappointing,” Allardyce said. He pointed out that Ronaldo’s teammates are shouldering the burden of compensating for his reduced energy levels. Despite Ronaldo’s fitness, his impact has waned, and he remains goalless in the tournament.

Allardyce drew a parallel with his own managerial experience at Bolton, recalling the difficult decision to bench World Cup winner Youri Djorkaeff due to declining performance. “Roberto Martínez won’t be brave enough to drop Ronaldo. When I was at Bolton I had to sit down Youri Djorkaeff – who was a World Cup winner – and tell him I thought his legs had gone. He didn’t take it very well and it’s not easy for the manager either. It’s a tough one for the manager in that position.”

He further reflected on Ronaldo’s emotional state, attributing his tears to personal ambitions rather than the team’s success. “I think Ronaldo’s tears were primarily down to what he wanted to achieve personally, rather than with Portugal as a team. At his level you have to be selfish, but where he didn’t do himself any favours was the last World Cup because he was throwing his hands around and dismissing everyone when they got knocked out.”

England’s Tactical Choices: Palmer Over Foden?

Turning his attention to the England squad, Allardyce offered a bold suggestion for their upcoming quarter-final clash against Switzerland. He advocated for Cole Palmer to start in midfield, replacing Phil Foden, who has been a mainstay in the team but is dealing with the challenges of a newborn and the travel involved. “I’d give Cole Palmer a go in midfield over Phil Foden,” said Allardyce. “Foden has played every game, he’s just had a newborn and had to fly back, so I’m taking everything into account.”

Defensive Strength and Offensive Balance

Allardyce acknowledged England’s solid defensive performance throughout the competition, which has been instrumental in their progression. He predicted that England’s path to victory would likely be narrow, citing their defensive robustness as key. “Based on England’s performances so far in this competition, I think if they do go through, it’ll only be by one goal – either 1-0 or 2-1. England have been exceptional in defence, and that needs to be maintained.”

However, he emphasised the need for a more balanced offensive approach to complement their defensive strength. “The balance going forward needs to be better, though. Their defensive solidarity has been the reason England have got to where they are in the competition, plus a bit of brilliance here and there as we saw in the last game from Jude Bellingham.”

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