England manager Gareth Southgate has hailed Adam Lallana as his star man since taking charge of the national team.
Lallana has not played for his country since June’s 3-2 defeat to France and is currently recovering from a thigh injury that has seen him miss the first few months of the domestic season.
The Liverpool star has grown to be a prominent figure in the England setup over the past couple of years having finally found his top form and started to thrive in the deeper midfield role he has occupied under Jurgen Klopp.
Southgate believes Lallana is his team’s best source of creativity, as opposed to Tottenham’s Dele Alli.
“In my year in charge, Adam Lallana has been our best player and we’ve not had him for the last three matches,” the England boss told the Telegraph.
“There are some players who can unlock defences and score goals.”
“Dele is an interesting player. If you analyse his game closely he’s a scorer of goals and he’s not necessarily the link player Adam is.”
“So, perceptions of players and their actual particular skill sets and areas where they are effective is not what’s commonly perceived. I go to games and I look at one person and how he plays, so you see the different attributes.”
Lallana arguably walks back into Southgate’s strongest eleven when fit, especially when considering the team’s series of drab displays in the last couple of international breaks.
His rise for both club and country has been admirable, after it looked at one point he was never going to quite prove the natural ability he possesses.
There are few who can replicate what he does with the ball and, in fact, few that he can be compared to him in the current England setup.
The fact he is so unique is what makes him so valuable. The added bonus in the last couple of seasons is that he has started to chip in with goals for Liverpool as well.
Alli isn’t the playmaker Lallana is. Just as Lallana isn’t the goal-scoring midfielder Alli is.