Lallana shows why he is a must for England

Basingstoke Gazette: ADam Lallana ADam Lallana

Adam Lallana, he’s off to Brazil,” rang out the chant from supporters in the Northam End at St Mary’s yesterday.

On the evidence of this game, and frankly that of the entire season so far, it is hard to imagine them being wrong.

Even in defeat for Saints, Lallana remained the best player on the pitch.

His skill, vision and work-rate were immense, and there can be no doubt that he is in the form of his career.

He will certainly have impressed England assistant manager Ray Lewington, who was in the stands, and national team coach Gary Neville, who was commentating on the game.

Roy Hodgson described Lallana as a “major find” following his impressive performances in the recent friendly matches against Chile and Germany, while indicating that the Saints captain had played himself into contention for the World Cup.

His prospects must have improved further after this – the latest in a series of supreme displays this season.

Lallana will have to postpone his wedding if he makes it to Brazil, and he and his fiancée probably shouldn’t go making any final payments for their big day yet.

England can sometimes be accused of lacking a creative spark in midfield, but the 25-year-old is making a strong case to suggest that he could provide an answer to that criticism.

While other parts of the Saints team were crumbling against Spurs, he was at his brilliant best for much of the afternoon.

Lallana opened the scoring in this wild encounter, producing a sublime turn to elude Vlad Chiriches outside the area, before planting a low right-foot shot in off the post.

The strike represented his fourth goal of the season – already one more than he managed during the previous campaign.

He might have had another late on, had Hugo Lloris not done well to race off his line and smother the ball as he stretched to poke it goalwards, after latching onto a Gastón Ramírez through pass.

Lallana’s footwork can be a joy to behold, and there was a fine example of it midway through the first half, as he bamboozled Spurs right-back Kyle Walker.

The England defender had no answer for the wizardry of the Saints captain, being twisted and turned near the halfway line, and he was practically left in a heap on the floor by the time Lallana had finished with him.

As well as his technical ability, though, Lallana also possesses incredible vision.

He showcased that moments later, receiving a square pass in a central position from Rickie Lambert. Without hesitating, he clipped a perfect first-time pass into Jay Rodriguez just inside the area, with the forward bending his shot over.

Better was to follow after half-time.

Lallana’s incisive run down the inside-right channel was picked out by an excellent Jack Cork pass.

Lloris raced off his line and towards the corner of his area to try and snuff out the danger, but, seeing the Spurs keeper out of position, Lallana showed incredible presence of mind to cut the ball back, right into the path of Rickie Lambert.

The Saints striker might have been 20 yards out, but, because of the work of his teammate, he had an open goal to roll the ball into.

Lallana also nearly laid on a memorable goal for 18-year-old striker Sam Gallagher, who was making his home debut, but the youngster’s shot across goal, after being slipped in by his skipper, was saved by Lloris.

Saints’ defensive woes ultimately provided the lasting memory from this encounter, but there was at least something far more positive to recall in the form of Lallana’s display.

Comments (2)

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2:43pm Mon 23 Dec 13

st1halo says...

He did ineed make Messi look sh1te.

He did ineed make Messi look sh1te. STID st1halo

11:20pm Mon 23 Dec 13

DisplacedFan says...

In all honesty he is probably the only Saint who will go and deservedly so.
In all honesty he is probably the only Saint who will go and deservedly so. DisplacedFan

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