Lallana: I am focused on England

Adam Lallana was not in England's plans only a year ago

Adam Lallana was not in England's plans only a year ago

First published in National Sport News © by

Adam Lallana insists his sole focus over the next few weeks will be England.

Lallana earned a place in Roy Hodgson's World Cup squad after a series of stunning displays for Southampton.

The England manager is not the only one to have noticed the midfielder's incredible progress, though.

Speculation has mounted that Lallana could change clubs this summer, with Liverpool said to be interested in signing the 26-year-old.

Lallana, who has been at Southampton since 2000, is unmoved by the rumours and he is adamant that he will not be distracted by talk about his future in the build-up to the tournament.

Lallana, who was speaking on behalf of Vauxhall the England Team Sponsor, said: "Whether my future gets sorted before or after the World Cup makes no difference to me.

"I am just fully focused on doing well for England and performing as well as I can."

When England were hit by a series of injuries in the build-up to their friendly against Brazil last June, Lallana's name was not mentioned as a possible replacement.

The midfielder was down the pecking order after a difficult first season in the Barclays Premier League.

Just six months later Lallana made his England debut after hitting the ground running in his second top-flight season with Saints.

Plans for a summer wedding to his then fiancee Emily were brought forward when it became clear Lallana was in contention for World Cup selection.

"I am happy I made that decision, it caused me a lot less stress," said Lallana, who got married on Christmas Eve instead.

Bringing the wedding forward proved to be a wise move as Lallana received a text from Hodgson a couple of weeks ago telling him he had made the plane.

Champagne, cartwheels and tears presumably followed?

"No, I was quite quiet really," he says.

"I tried not to get too overwhelmed and excited about it because I still have a job to do. I have just to try to stay focused on the job in hand."

That is one of the reasons why Lallana made the 23 - because of his hard work and determination.

They are two traits that have served him well throughout his career, which has had plenty of ups and downs.

Lallana, who was 12 when he joined Saints, battled back to overcome the trauma that was caused by the heart defect detected by Southampton's medical team when he was 18.

"My heart was peaking at 230 beats per minute," he says. The average heart beats at 60-80.

A few years later Southampton almost went bankrupt, but with Lallana's help, back-to-back promotions were secured.

The skilful player, who was voted into the PFA Team of the Year by his peers this season, could have left Southampton during the dark days but he is glad he stayed.

"I wouldn't change anything," he said.

"Part of my development was playing those (lower) league games.

"It has helped me physically, and with different aspects of my game.

"Four years ago I was playing in League One and I was watching the World Cup with my mates.

"If someone had said to me then I would be participating in the next one, obviously I would have not believed them one bit.

"That just proves what can happen when you work hard and get your head down.

"I'm delighted and I still can't quite believe it."

Lallana has three caps to his name and he is expected to play a key role for England in Brazil.

Lallana and Southampton team-mates Rickie Lambert and Luke Shaw are among 17 players in Hodgson's party who have never been to a World Cup before.

Lallana thinks that raw inexperience will prove to be a help, rather than a hindrance.

"A lot of us haven't been to a World Cup before. Hopefully that means we'll go there with no fear," he said.

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