Sunderland have confirmed that they have given Sam Allardyce permission to speak to the Football Association over the vacant England job.
Reports emerged this week that Allardyce was to meet with the FA regarding the Three Lions post, which is available following Roy Hodgon's resignation.
The 61-year-old has since become the bookmakers' favourite to succeed Hodgson, ahead of names including Jurgen Klinsmann, Steve Bruce and Eddie Howe.
Sunderland have reacted to the speculation by confirming that talks between Allardyce and the FA are taking place, though they have insisted that they want their manager to remain in charge of the club.
"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," a Sunderland statement read.
"At Sam Allardyce's request, we agreed to this.
Club comment - Sam Allardyce https://t.co/Scrp0HBogI
- Sunderland AFC (@SunderlandAFC) July 13, 2016
"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."
Allardyce was reported to have flown back to England from Sunderland's preseason training camp in Austria, before meeting with FA vice-chairman David Gill, technical director Dan Ashworth and chief executive Martin Glenn.
Allardyce's case has been helped by a glowing endorsement from Sir Alex Ferguson, and he could be set to secure the role he missed out on in 2006, when the FA interviewed him, only to appoint Steve McClaren instead.
Sources have told ESPN FC that Sunderland are lining up a move for Burnley boss Sean Dyche should Allardyce depart.