How might England be getting on under Sam Allardyce in 12 months' time?


With the Roy Hodgson era well and truly over, Sam Allardyce begins his time as England's manager against Slovakia on Sunday in World Cup qualifying.

It's certainly been an entertaining ride so far, with Big Sam bringing in comedians Bradley Walsh and Paddy McGuinness to entertain the squad.

But what else can we expect from England's new boss? Here's how we think the landscape might have changed in 12 months' time...

1. John Stones enters the Guinness Book of Records as the world's most confused man.

John Stones trains with England

Pep Guardiola spent weeks remoulding John Stones' cluttered mind, setting in place the foundations for the young man to become England's next Gerard Pique, but he could do little to stop Sam Allardyce undoing all his hard work with his self-penned book 'No Nonsense Defending: a Guide for Dummies'.

By the 2017/18 season, Stones has been reduced to a gibbering wreck, caught between the warring styles of Guardiola's passing game, and Big Sam's safety-first approach. As Manchester City kick off against Arsenal, Stones can be seen looking blankly into the distance, a thousand-yard stare in his eyes, as Per Mertesacker waltzes past him.

2. Andy Carroll moves to Barcelona on transfer deadline day, 2017.

Andy Carroll celebrates

The world has seen the light after Andy Carroll's record-breaking 42-goal season with West Ham United, with Barcelona replacing their motto 'mes que un club' with the phrase "he's got a good touch for a big man" to welcome the striker.

With Carroll still injured in October of the 2016/17 season, Big Sam stuck a huge plaster on Andy's dodgy knee, told him to get on with it, and the former Newcastle front man went from strength to strength. Andy scored every one of his 42 goals with his head, including a 40-yard thunderbolt against Liverpool in May as he steered Slaven Bilic's West Ham to the Premier League title. Upon being handed the trophy, Carroll had to be forcibly restrained from heading it.

3. England are the masters of the relegation battle.

Sam Allardyce holds his hands above his head

After England draw 1-1 away to Malta, Scotland and Slovakia are running away with Group F. Allardyce responds to a media grilling by claiming the target was "always to stay in the division" which does little to appease the reporters.

Sam explains that he did it with Sunderland, West Ham, Bolton and Blackburn; everywhere he's gone he's proven himself as a master of the drop, and he's not going to see his beloved country, England, relegated to the Championship. Not for all the Pukka Pies in the world.

4. Big Sam replaces the PlayStation in the players' lounge with board games.

People play a game of Monopoly

After attempting a few games of FIFA 17 with the team, Allardyce is infuriated after successive losses to Jordan Henderson. He boots the console out of the window and onto the roof of Kevin Nolan's car.

After apologising profusely to his captain, Allardyce enforces a board game rule and goes on an unbelievable Monopoly winning streak. "Jamie Vardy's really taken to Kerplunk," Allardyce tells a confused group of reporters in the media room, "And Dele Alli's locked in a Connect Four battle with Marcus Rashford, so they'll both miss the next game, unfortunately."

5. Allardyce replaces his back-room staff with the cast of 'Not Going Out'.

Tim Vine holds his trophy

After 12 months of, in his own words, "Giving sports science a chance", Allardyce has had enough and calls in his own team, with Lee Mack taking care of first team training, while Tim Vine is placed in charge of accommodation. England's set-piece routines are replaced with sketches, with Kevin Nolan and Ryan Shawcross earning the lion's share of the laughs with their Laurel and Hardy routine.

"If you're laughing, you're learning," claims Big Sam. And everyone is most certainly laughing.