Sunderland have confirmed the Football Association has held talks with Sam Allardyce over the vacant England manager's position.
Allardyce left the Black Cats' pre-season training camp in Austria earlier this week and, although it was initially thought it was due to talks with a transfer target, the 61-year-old was subsequently pictured leaving the house of FA vice-chairman David Gill.
Sunderland on Wednesday admitted they had granted Allardyce permission to speak to the FA.
A club statement read: "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.
"At Sam Allardyce's request, we agreed to this."