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Can Adam Lallana become England's best player?

Thursday 23rd March 2017
England have been bereft of a truly outstanding player for some years. The likes of Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard all threatened notable displays, but were unable to ignite their side on the international stage in the same way they did for their clubs.

Tottenham duo Harry Kane and Dele Alli are touted as two men who may have a lasting effect on the England team, but they are yet to really hit the heights that many have set out for them.

One man that is beginning to come through on this promise though is Liverpool's Adam Lallana. The forward has improved massively year on year, and with Jurgen Klopp only aiding his creativity, the former Southampton man looks like a superbly creative talent.

For Liverpool this term, Lallana has been outstanding. With Philippe Coutinho losing his way in recent weeks, the Englishman has needed to step up. He has racked up seven goals and seven assists this term, with Liverpool looking very strong going forward, made all the more impressive by the fact they don't have a preferred striker.

Last night for England, Lallana was displaying his attacking ability once again. While Germany were fielding a young team, they are still a very strong side, and Lallana gave them a lot of problems.

While England dominated large parts of the first-half, there were still periods in which his side did not have the ball. In these moments, Lallana displayed exactly why he is so vital to the team and their high-pressure game.

He was tireless in his running as he chased down the ball and he cut off avenues to pass down and applied pressure where it was needed, something that Klopp has been instilling at Liverpool, with England boss Gareth Southgate now benefiting hugely from it.

Lallana set the standard for the evening as Southgate employed a high-pressure system which did not allow Germany's young team time to truly settle in the first-half, thus allowing England to keep more of the ball.

Lallana also created the best chance of the evening for himself as he flicked the ball beyond the defender before bearing down on goal. His shot, which hit the base of the post was well stuck, but disappointing as it did not find the back of the net.

He was also instrumental in the build-up to Dele Alli's chance, which he smashed into Marc-Andre ter Stegen's midriff.

While England lost the game 1-0, it was a match that displayed the increasing influence Lallana has on this young team. With Wayne Rooney not even in the squad, it is a chance for another player to step up and take the mantle of leader, something Lallana can do as one of the senior members of the squad.
England need to put their past failures behind them and focus on their future, which is looking brighter with each passing game. The likes of Alli, Raheem Sterling and Ross Barkley are all fine talents that are yet to consistently impress at international level, with Lallana doing a far better job in recent years.

Cite his time as part of England's starting team in the 2016 European Championship, as he was the most influential player in Roy Hodgson's team. He was dropped for the Three Lion's last group game against Slovakia and England lacked penetration and creativity, with many calling the decision to drop Lallana a foolish one.

Since then, he has been an integral part of the England setup, allowing him to improve hugely with each passing game. With such an important set of matches to come for England, they need their senior players to step up, something that Lallana has already been doing for months.
Ben Darvill

I graduated with an upper second class degree in English and Creative writing from Cardiff Metropolitan University. I have been a freelance sports writer since leaving University and have written for a number of online websites. I am a Chelsea and England fan but I enjoy watching any team play as I have an intense passion for football.

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