Here's how we think Sam Allardyce's first England XI could line up

Sam Allardyce favoured a 4-3-3 formation as he masterminded Sunderland's survival push last season, but England are not blessed with in-form wingers or wide forwards.

That might leave him pondering a 4-4-2 diamond formation, often utilised during his West Ham stint, that allows for a pair of scorers and an energetic midfield.

Sam Allardyce.
(Owen Humphreys/PA)

Here, England football reporter Rory Dollard offers a possible Allardyce XI and the reasons behind it.

(4-4-2, diamond) Hart; Walker, Shawcross, Smalling, Cresswell; Dier, Henderson, Barkley, Alli; Vardy, Kane.

Subs (from): Butland, Stones, Rose, Clyne, Noble, Wilshere, Drinkwater, Carroll, Rashford.


England goalkeeper Joe Hart looks dejected after the final whistle following the Round of 16 match at Stade de Nice, Nice, France.
(Owen Humphreys/PA)

Expect Joe Hart's undisputed number one status to come under question after his sub-par showing at Euro 2016.

Fraser Forster and Jack Butland can both expect to have a level playing field but Allardyce may well begin by handing Hart one more chance. The Manchester City man turned in a man-of-the-match performance against Allardyce's Sunderland in February and is the only candidate with experience of Champions League football.


England's Kyle Walker, left, and Iceland's Birkir Bjarnason fight for the ball during the Euro 2016 round of 16 soccer match between England and Iceland, at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, France, Monday, June 27, 2016.
(Pavel Golovkin/AP)

Right-back Kyle Walker will be tarnished by association by the debacle against Iceland but he is one of the few who returned from France with an improved CV.

At left-back England have various options - Danny Rose, Ryan Bertrand, Kieran Gibbs and Leighton Baines et al - but Allardyce may be tempted to blood his former West Ham signing Aaron Cresswell.


England's Chris Smalling and Wales' Hal Robson-Kanu (right) battle for the ball during the UEFA Euro 2016, Group B match at the Stade Felix Bollaert-Delelis, Lens.
(Joe Giddens/PA)

Chris Smalling is close to a certain pick given his rising stature at Manchester United and his appealing age (26) but Allardyce could decide to phase out Gary Cahill who failed to organise the defence in France. John Stones appears to be the best-placed young candidate but Allardyce's misgivings about defenders who play from the back, and Stones' own dubious form last term, might be good news for Ryan Shawcross. Like Allardyce considered by some to be too rustic for international football, he could nonetheless play a bridging role by helping bring discipline to the back four.


Wayne Rooney playing for England.
(Nick Potts/PA)

It would be a brave coach to axe Eric Dier after his efforts over the summer, and he should be the midfield anchor of England's 2018 qualification bid.

Dele Alli is a similarly exciting prospect despite a mixed Euros, while Jordan Henderson - a former Allardyce target at West Ham - has the work-rate and athleticism to appeal. Wayne Rooney's playmaker experiment may already be over and Jack Wilshere has ground to make up after his injury struggles, meaning the rehabilitation of Ross Barkley's international career might become a key project.

Hammers skipper Mark Noble can expect a call-up to the squad, if not a starting jersey, while Danny Drinkwater may act as back-up to Dier.


England's Marcus Rashford  during the International friendly soccer match between England and Australia at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland, England, Friday, May 27, 2016.
(Scott Heppell/AP)

There could be more bad news ahead for Rooney, should he struggle for game-time or goals under Jose Mourinho at Manchester United.

Allardyce suggested last season that Harry Kane was now a more accomplished number nine than the country's record goalscorer and Rooney might find his starting place under threat, particularly if Jamie Vardy can maintain his scoring threat in a weakened Leicester team or Marcus Rashford continues to impress at Old Trafford.

He has personal attachments to Andy Carroll and Jermain Defoe and while time may have caught up the latter, it would be no surprise to see Carroll involved as a bench option.

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