Belfast Telegraph

England need some clarity to reach next level: Lallana

World Cup Qualifying Group F: England v Scotland, Wembley Stadium, Friday, 7.45pm

By Steve Madeley

Adam Lallana has urged the FA to end uncertainty over the next England manager so the national team can gain an identity.

The Liverpool midfielder, who has emerged as a key figure in Jurgen Klopp's self-styled 'heavy metal' style at Anfield, admitted England have lacked the same clarity of purpose.

Now the 28-year-old has called on the FA to appoint Sam Allardyce's successor as soon as possible to allow the new man to stamp his mark as Klopp has done on Merseyside.

Stand-in boss Gareth Southgate appears to be in pole position to land the job permanently ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Scotland tomorrow and friendly with Spain on Tuesday.

"Your manager represents the team and almost brings the identity of what he wants the team to do, act and play like," said Lallana. "Over the last year, Liverpool have gradually become what he (Klopp) wants us to be.

"It's down to long hours training, pre-season and three sessions a day - repetitive sessions where he drums in what he wants us to do. Hard work definitely pays off. You need stability. What you don't have at England is the time you get at club level.

"You can't prepare for a campaign as you would for a league over the course of the season.

"It's not possible so it's a different challenge. I'm sure Gareth will want to have that and we are ready to fight for him.

"Hopefully he will do well enough to get the job on a permanent basis. It would be nice for Gareth and for us quite soon to know whether he's going to get the job on a permanent basis so you can build towards having a certain identity that your manager wants you to have.

"That's what a manager is there for. I'm sure over the next few days the manager will be telling us what he wants for the Scotland and Spain games.

"Eventually it would be nice for him in the longer term to put a structure in place. For a few years now we've not done brilliantly at major tournaments so it's up to us to find an identity.

"Whether it's the mental side at tournaments that we're struggling to cope with, we need to overcome that. By good hard work I think we can do that."

Tomorrow's meeting with Scotland will bring England up against Gordon Strachan, who was manager at Southampton when a teenage Lallana signed.

And Lallana revealed how he got an early taste of Strachan's talent, even though the former Celtic man was by then well into his 40s.

"I was a schoolboy, in my last year or two, and we got to come in one or two days a week to give us a taste of what it was all like," he recalled. "They used to have games; the staff versus the first and second year scholars.

"I remember Strachan still had it. He used to play one-twos, he might not have been able to move well then but his ability was there for all to see and it was a great experience.

"I'm not sure he'll remember me, but I remember him!"

And Lallana admitted he expects a tense occasion as England continue to recover from their embarrassing exit from Euro 2016 to Iceland after their 2-1 defeat in France.

"There is something different about Home Nations games and the bragging rights that come with them but we're expecting to win, which is the same, regardless of who we play," said Lallana.

"Confidence doesn't come overnight. The Iceland game hurt and damaged us to a certain extent, but under Sam Allardyce, and now under Gareth, we're starting to rebuild that.

"It's a very good game, it's going to be a sell-out, the atmosphere will be different to other Wembley games and I'm looking forward to it."

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