Adam Lallana Has to Be a Starter for England at World Cup

Aaron Bower@@aaronbowerFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2014

WATFORD, ENGLAND - MARCH 03:  Adam Lallana talks to the media during a press conference at The Grove hotel on March 3, 2014 in Watford, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

In England's final friendly before Roy Hodgson names his preliminary squad for the World Cup, it is safe to say we didn't discover too much.

Daniel Sturridge scored and perhaps cemented his position as England's No. 9 for when the tournament kicks off. The back four did their job for the bulk of the game and Luke Shaw confirmed to us all that he is England's next big hope at left-back.

However, it is Shaw's Southampton teammate that will grab most of the headlines after the game.

Adam Lallana is just 25 years of age and has only played three times for the England senior side. However, he has emerged as one of England's brightest talents and should be a sure starter for Hodgson's men when they begin their World Cup campaign.

Do not be fooled by the fact he plays for Southampton—they appear to be a driving force in providing young English talent.

Also, do not be fooled by the fact he has worked his way through the lower leagues with Southampton. That is a fact that should be embraced, as it has nurtured his game in a way that no other Englishman has enjoyed.

In the 4-2-3-1 system England and Hodgson employ, there are a multitude of positions that Lallana can be deployed in—a vital credential to have when it comes to being a regular starter for England. His ability to pick attacks off means he is equally as adept sitting deep in midfield as he is bursting forward.

In fact, lists his defensive contributions and interception ability as two of his main strengths. There is clearly so much more to Lallana's game than attack, attack, attack.

However, whilst his defensive ability should be praised and lauded, it is indeed in attack where Lallana's main strengths to the England side lie.

He is by far and away Southampton's most creative player. Squawka indicates that he has set up 46 chances so far this season, which is way more than anyone else in a red-and-white shirt. His seven goals in the league are also pretty impressive for a midfielder.

Away from the stats, though, there is plenty more to Lallana that backs up the claims that he should be starting for England in Manaus. There are few Englishmen like him when surging forward—he looks to be one of the few in this country who is keen to beat a man.

His technique is there for all to see, as the cross he provided for Sturridge to nod home was pinpoint and something he has produced all season for Southampton.

England are blessed—perhaps not the most accurate word, but still—with creative, attacking midfielders. All of them provide something different, but Lallana is the one option Hodgson needs to seriously consider.

With him in the side, England would have that added touch of brilliance they have lacked for such a long time. It certainly won't win the World Cup, but it sure is a start for the coming years.