Vito Mannone has become the third Sunderland player to sign a fresh deal over the summer, following in the footsteps of Patrick Van Aanholt and Jermain Defoe. With the Italian entering into the last year of his contract, the approach to ensure we don’t see a repeat of the blunder that allowed Phil Bardsley and Jack Colback to see out their contracts and leave for free back in the 2013-14 season is certainly refreshing to say the least.
It shows that the club is learning the lessons of mismanagement by guaranteeing that the valuable members of the playing staff are here for the foreseeable future, which can only point to a brighter future for the club itself.
Unfortunately the same can not be said for our national side, and the mistakes of Roberto De Fanti, Ellis Short and Paolo Di Canio are strikingly similar to the FA and their apparent senseless approach to managing England.
After two failed tournaments prior to heading into this year’s European Championships, Roy Hodgson was given the all clear to continue his unspectacular performance as head coach and we’ve suffered another pitiful exit from a major competition with no clear ethos, strategy or plan in place.
And it’s hard not to see the similarities between the mistakes made by Ellis Short and those made, and still being made, by FA chairman Greg Dyke which have hampered the national set-up’s development.
Like Short, Dyke background isn’t primarily in football. The 69-year-old was previously the general director of the BBC, and is the chairman of both the British Film Institute and the theatre group ATG. And while he spent time as a director at Manchester United, his CV hardly screams the footballing knowledge and mastery you would expect a chairman of the Football Association to have.
Likewise, the man tasked with finding the replacement to Hodgson has similar credentials. Chief executive officer Martin Glenn was the CEO of United Biscuits prior to taking up his role at the FA in 2015, and he himself has limited footballing experience as a non-executive director at Leicester City for four years.
The question remains on who will replace Hodgson, whether it be the long-list of possible English managers like Sam Allardyce, Sam Allardyce and Sam Allardyce, or will it be given to a foreign manager who will bring in his own plan and isn’t afraid to play dirty tactics to gain an edge.
Regardless of the answer to that, as neither would be incorrect appointments, it’s a time for the FA to finally set a precedence for the future of the English national side.
We need to follow suit of the Germans and allow our youth to blossom as a collective in their tender years to create a fighting, team-spirited bond that has worked so well for Wales as they embark on their first ever major completion semi-final tonight against Portugal.
It’s certainly not far from the realm of reality to envision such a thing either, especially with the Young Lions lifting the Toulon Tournament back in May for the first time in twenty-two years.
Dyke and Glenn now need to deliver a man who can focus on the exciting talent coming through our ranks. And unlike club management where the players and manager see each other on a daily basis, the new manager needs to be able to set out his philosophy quickly and painlessly for the squad to understand and take into games.
The new man can’t be a Roberto Martinez/Brendon Rodgers who require their players to learn a passing ethos that takes time on the training field to perfect. It needs to be a man who can come in, make a simple plan that works with squad, take advantage of the sport science and technology available to him – all the things away from the training ground that are so crucial to a side.
And in reference to a fantastic point I saw, that labeled England as a struggling Premier League side battling away for safety, it’s needs to be a man who isn’t afraid to win at any costs, with some passion, blood, energy and desire into his players.
Although all I have labeled there are Sam Allardyce traits, a man with a similar philosophy like his own to build this team should certainly be a front-runner for the role. Let’s just hope they can find some foreign manager with similar attributes to the big man - or better yet, Tony Pulis decides he fancies a new challenge...