Football

Pardew is crystal clear: I focus on Palace not England

Alan Pardew says he is flattered to be linked with the vacant post of England manager.
Alan Pardew says he is flattered to be linked with the vacant post of England manager. Reuters/Peter Cziborra

Everton host Crystal Palace on Friday night in the English Premier League with the spotlight on the visitors' boss Alan Pardew. 

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The 55-year-old Londoner is among a clutch of names linked with the vacant post of England manager.

The job - often described as the most difficult in football - became available on Tuesday after Sam Allardyce quit following a British newspaper investigation into corruption.

Undercover Daily Telegraph reporters filmed 61-year-old Allardyce explaining how to circumvent England Football Association rules on third-party ownership of players. He was also disparaging about the speech impediment of his predecessor Roy Hodgson. There were also critical comments about Hodgson's coaching staff as well as the FA's redevelopment of the national stadium at Wembley.

Sympathy for Allardyce

"I've got a lot of sympathy for Sam because it was a dream job for him and the pinnacle of any English manager's career," Pardew said on the eve of the game at fifth placed Everton. "To lose the job in those circumstances has been horrible."

Pardew took over at Palace on 3 January 2015. He led them to last season's FA Cup final which they lost to Manchester United. While he was at the helm at West Ham United, his side went down to Liverpool in the 2006 FA Cup final.

Those defeats in a showpiece event are the highlights in an otherwise solid but unspectacular coaching career. That Pardew is considered as a protential replacement for the top job in English football underscores the paucity of trophy-laden, tactically astute English managers .

Howe, Wenger possible candidates

Eddie Howe, the Bournemouth coach, is being touted as a candidate. But at 38 and with just over a year's experience in the Premier League with Bournemouth, he has even less top-flight guile than Pardew. The Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger, is also among the FA's favoured few.

"Of course I'm privileged and proud to be in that small group that's being linked with the England manager's job," said Pardew. "I'm not going to shy away from that. But I have to keep my focus on my job at Crystal Palace. I have to return the loyalty they have shown to me."

Last Saturday, Palace rose to seventh on 10 points after securing their third victory of the season by coming from 2-0 down at Sunderland to win 3-2.

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