The rise of Adam Lallana over the last few years epitomises the brilliance of Southampton Football Club. Eight years ago, he was making his debut for Southampton against Yeovil Town, with the Saints languishing in League One riddled with financial issues. Now, Southampton are in the Premier League with the undisputed best youth system in the country, whilst their captain Adam Lallana is on the verge of a World Cup place.
Signed at 12 years old from Bournemouth by Southampton, Lallana has always been talented however it was not until the Saint’s emergence into the top flight of English football two seasons ago, that his skilful prowess came to the forefront of public attention.
His silky touch, coupled with an exquisite passing ability and burst of pace has prompted Southampton fans to call him ‘Messi’- and judging by his performance on Wednesday night against Denmark, England fans may well be doing the same.
He replaced a languid Jack Wilshere after 59 minutes and lit up what was otherwise a lifeless spectacle, appearing a hub of creativity with his smart turns and clever passes. It was his audacious turn and dinked cross that set up Daniel Sturridge’s goal in the 80th minute- and subsequently pushed himself to the forefront of Roy Hodgson’s World Cup plans.
Many people have said that Jack Wilshere is the future of the England midfield, the natural successor to Steven Gerrard’s role as the creative general of the England team. Yet, as Wilshere struggles to find form and fitness, Adam Lallana could well have a case to start in Brazil come May.
Statistically, Lallana outstrips his competitors for an England shirt: he has scored 7 goals which is bettered by only one other English midfielder,Steven Gerrard who is equally the only other midfielder to have more assists in the Premier League than Lallana.
He may not have the pedigree of Michael Carrick or the experience of Frank Lampard, whilst he can only dream of having the hype surrounding Jack Wilshere- however it would be a grave mistake if Roy Hodgson does not bring this Bournemouth boy to Brazil. He has been one of the most consistent English midfielders over the last two seasons, and if he is omitted then serious questions will need to be asked about the English selection criteria.