London: Sunderland on Wednesday confirmed that their head coach Sam Allardyce has held talks with the Football Association regarding the vacancy for England coach. Roy Hodgson left his position as chief coach after the Three Lions' humiliating European Championship exit at the hands of Iceland in the pre-quarterfinals, and the FA has since been searching for a successor to the former Fulham coach. Sunderland have subsequently confirmed that they granted English football's governing body permission to speak with Allardyce, who is now reportedly the frontrunner for the post ahead of the likes of Arsenal head coach Arsene Wenger and United States' coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Sunderland, who finished 17th in the English Premier League in 2015-16, have also called on the FA to conduct discussions swiftly, and still hope to retain Allardyce's services. "The Football Association contacted Sunderland AFC to seek permission to speak with our manager as part of what was supposed to be a confidential discussion process with potential candidates for the position of England manager," Sunderland said in a statement. "At Sam Allardyce’s request, we agreed to this. Sam is very much key to our plans. After what was an extremely challenging season, we are keen to see a period of stability, both on and off the field, and we want him to remain as manager of our football club." "The ongoing speculation over Sam’s position is extremely damaging to Sunderland AFC, particularly at this crucial time of the season and we urge the FA to respect the disruption that this process is causing and bring about a swift resolution to the matter," the club's statement read.