Despite a miserable performance from England on Friday in their 2-0 loss to Chile, Roy Hodgson learned that Adam Lallana is capable of being an option at the 2014 World Cup.
I am sure many will say that the performance England put in during their loss at home to Chile was an example of how England is still at a low point in their history. Although it was nothing encouraging, it was useful, as the night gave Hodgson some vital information.
Hodgson gave first starts for Lallana and Jay Rodriguez following their fine form for Southampton this season. It is hard to conclude too much after one match, but at International level, performances need to be immediate and positive when under pressure. On their débuts, we could see just how good Lallana and Rodriguez are. I believe that we learned that Rodriguez has quite a way to go before he is ready for International level. There is a lot to work on and a lot to add to his game, as it was evident that he is not quite up to the ability England would prefer in a major tournament.
However, it seemed Lallana embraced the challenge. The fact that England performed badly as team meant he couldn’t quite flourish, but he did well. He impressed, he was lively, he created some chances, and looked sharp, which is what is needed at this level. He appeared to have the character to take on the pressure of such a test and it didn’t affect his game too much. He took a little bit of time to get going, but once he settled, he was bright and composed.
Hodgson may not look at Lallana as a first team option, not just yet anyway, but if his form improves over the course of the 2013-14 campaign, then you can see Friday’s outing backing him for a seat on the plane. At 25, Lallana is at a point where he is capable of being put into a high pressure scenario, and he displayed that. He didn’t get the freedom or flow around him that we see at Southampton, but he translated his touch, desire and positivity into an England shirt, even if it was for small glimpses.
It was an easy evening to stand out among an average England side, but Lallana did that, and you can’t begrudge him. His dream will surely be to represent his country at a World Cup, and he helped himself against Chile.
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