Lallana: Chance to impress

Adam Lallana will make his first start in the World Cup against Costa Rica and says England must end the tournament on a high.

The skilful Southampton midfielder has appeared from the bench in both Group D games in Brazil and is disappointed he couldn’t help the Three Lions keep their World Cup hopes alive.

And as he prepares to line-up in an England team with an average age of 25 in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday night, he believes the players will have learned from the experience and can build on that for the Euros in two years.

Costa Rica v England

2014 FIFA World Cup
Group D
5pm BST Tuesday 24 June
Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte
Live on ITV and 5 Live

“Sometimes it’s difficult coming off the bench but I just couldn’t impact it as much as I’d have liked,” he said, when he spoke to at the team hotel. 

“It would have been nice to set up a goal or change the game. But I’m looking forward to [Costa Rica] to hopefully get some experience and play well.

“It was a lot of the lads’ first World Cups, their first taste of this experience, international football, the climates, being away from home, so there are positives to take.

“But once we get home, hopefully after a win, we’ll sit down and be able to analyse it a bit more thoroughly.”

But Lallana believes there are encouraging signs for the future with some of the younger players in the squad and those who will get a chance to impress in the final match on Tuesday afternoon. 

“Luke Shaw is 18, Raheem Sterling has been a massive positive for us and he likes of Phil Jones and Danny Welbeck – they are still young as well and have a couple of tournaments under their belts now,” he added.

“There are good things to take away from the tournament, hopefully the squad can grow and get more success in the future.”

Shortly after landing in Belo Horizonte, Roy Hodgson’s men trained at the match venue Estadio Mineirao, home of Brazilian top-flight outfit Cruzeiro.

And although the players are only too aware of their ultimate fate in the World Cup, they are approaching their meeting with Group D’s surprise package as they always do.

“You are playing for your country and it’s a very proud thing to do,” he said. 

“I’m sure I’ll be speaking for everyone who is playing, but we’ll be looking to put the two defeats behind us.

“We’re in it together, we’ve got to be professional, and we look to finish strong and on a positive note.

Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana in action against Uruguay

“It’s another game and a chance to finish the tournament on a high, then when we get home assess everything and take what we can out of the competition.”

Hodgson confirmed his line-up on Monday night and at 26 years of age, Lallana is one of the oldest to be starting.

He says the game will provide a perfect opportunity for some of the younger players to get a bit more experience at the biggest stage in international football and hopefully give the fans something to cheer.

“We’ll go out there and show the boss what we can do and stay in his thoughts for future selections,” he said.

“It will be good for myself, Ross, Wilshere, Studge, Luke Shaw, Phil Jones to all get a game, impress and show them what we can do.

“We’re taking this game as seriously as we’ve taken the other games – we don’t want to go home with no points on the board.

“We want to finish the tournament strongly, not just for ourselves but for the fans who have travelled out here.”

England midfielder Adam Lallana previews World Cup group closer with Costa Rica