Dubai : No prizes for guessing why they call him "Big Sam". One look at Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce will tell you that the burly 6ft 3in Englishman isn't a man who finds it hard to stamp his authority in the dressing room.
That's not to say Allardyce is a hard taskmaster. You would struggle to find a more affable personality in a league as fiery and competitive as the Barclays English Premiership.
And it could well be those qualities that have reportedly made Allardyce an object of interest from UFL side Al Ahli. In a chat with XPRESS, the 55-year-old who is in Dubai this week as a special guest on the Rob and Derek Live at Meydan show, did little to kill the speculation. "Well, I would consider managing over here. Yes, definitely. But when and where that will be, we'll have to wait and see," said Allardyce.
Such a move would hardly be a surprise given that the former Bolton Wanderers boss is a huge admirer of Dubai. "It's a wonderful place to visit," he said. "I've been coming for probably 11 years now and I've seen a city grow in 10 years. And that's a miracle to be fair. Nobody else in the world I think could have built what they've built in 10 years and done such a great job of it."
He added: "From a sporting point of view Dubai promotes the world of top class sport. They bring everybody here from every line of sport, from horse racing to cricket, obviously football and golf.
"I come at every chance I get whether it's with the team or on a holiday when there's an international break on, and I've thoroughly enjoyed every visit that I've had."
With the World Cup taking centre stage, Allardyce is relishing a short-lived but welcome break from the pressures of football management. "It's quite nice to sit back, relax and enjoy watching the games. As a manager when you are taking your own team, you are obviously under pressure to make sure your team wins. But when you are watching the World Cup, it's about watching how the world of football has progressed over the last four years," he said.
Big Sam roots for Paraguay
"I've been impressed by the South American sides, particularly Paraguay. They have proven they can go quite far. I worked with Roque Santa Cruz at Blackburn who has always said they've got a really good side this time," said Allardyce.