London: Sam Allardyce was on Friday appointed the chief coach of the England football team, the Football Association announced. The respected 61-year-old has signed an initial two-year contract and takes up the position with immediate effect following a successful spell retaining Sunderland’s status in the English Premier League. Allardyce’s first match in charge will be a friendly fixture at Wembley Stadium on September 1. “I am extremely honoured to be appointed England manager," Allardyce said. Alongside his primary target of qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Allardyce has a mandate to shape a strong, purposeful team identity and maximise the performance potential of a young, talented England squad at a major tournament. "It is no secret that this is the role I have always wanted. For me, it is absolutely the best job in English football." "I will do everything I can to help England do well and give our nation the success our fans deserve. Above all, we have to make the people and the whole country proud," the Sunderland coach said. "While my main focus will be on the senior team and getting positive results, I want to add my influence to the great work being done across the development teams at St. George’s Park -- a facility I have used with my previous clubs." Allardyce will select his first England squad towards the end of August ahead of the friendly on September 1 and the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Slovakia in Trnava three days later.