Lallana looking to leap to the next level with England
As a boyhood Everton fan, Adam Lallana is part of a growing contingent of players past and present who are and have plied their trade for fierce cross-city rivals Liverpool, who are 11/10 to secure a top four Premier League finish this season. However, those who pay attention will see a pattern emerging.
At the age of 12, he moved from Bournemouth’s Centre of Excellence to fellow south coast club, Southampton. You can hardly tar him with that brush. He stayed with the Saints for eight years, and repaid his hometown club in 2007 when he joined them for a brief stint on loan.
In short, he’s not a jumper, though he cannot be accused of not playing for the jersey. His record of 48 goals in 235 appearances is respectable for an attacking midfielder cum winger, who has built his game on inter-play, movement and assists.
Brendan Rodgers will see him as a key part of his team at Liverpool, having paid £25m for his services in the summer. An injury has stifled his chances so far this season, however, after being nursed back to fitness he has now opened his account. Netting the opening goal in the Reds’ 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion has strengthened the 26 year old’s chances of starting for the Three Lions in one of their upcoming Euro 2016 qualifying matches against San Marino and Estonia.
His apprenticeship is over. Roy Hodgson threw him in at the deep end in Brazil, involving Lallana in all three of England’s group games, starting the player against Costa Rica. He is now eager to build on that.
It is likely he will be competing with club teammate Raheem Sterling for a starting spot for country, however Hodgson’s headache is finding a way to accommodate the dynamic duo, with Lallana 5/1 to open the scoring against San Marino.
“Of course, as a footballer, you want to play every game possible. But the manager has big decisions to make. He has a squad and 11 places to choose for. I have huge respect for the manager and every decision he makes,” said the former Saints skipper.
“It’s always good, even in training, to show the manager what you can do and remind him, so if I get my chance I’ll be looking to take it and impress him,” he continued.
“There’s always going to be competition at this level. The amount of English players we have playing in the Premier League – there’s no shortage really, so there’ll be people pushing you for your places.”
England fans will be encouraged to learn that he is keen to get even better, and wants to keep pushing himself further: “I still feel I have a lot to learn and prove,” stressed Lallana.
“I don’t think by any stretch I’m an established international. I have hard work to do to get to this level consistently.”
Having been at Saints for eight years, he can at least expect a decent stint in the England set-up, especially if he begins to flourish.