It's been a strange week for Southampton captain Adam Lallana.
The past week has provided two disappointing defeats, but has also given birth to a huge individual victory.
The former Southampton schoolboy has tussled his way into World Cup contention, having once doubted if he would ever be able to play professionally due to a heart condition.
During his time on the books of Southampton, it was noted that Lallana had an irregular heartbeat. Suddenly the prospects of a young talent were thrown into mid-air by a medical condition and confusion reigned over the implications for his future.
With the backing of Southampton, Lallana went under the knife as surgery aimed to correct his issue. It proved successful, and Lallana has remained loyal to the south coast club ever since.
Having battled his way into the team as they fell into League One, Lallana has enjoyed the rich footballing education provided at the Southampton academy, but at the same time had to start plying his trade in the third tier of English football.
In League One, Lallana blossomed. His trademark drop of the shoulder and Cruyff turn, followed by curling shot or cross saw him become the first Southampton midfielder to hit the twenty goal mark in a single season since Matthew Le Tissier completed the same feat in 1995, when Lallana was just seven years of age.
His progression mirrored that of his club, as Southampton rose, so did Lallana's stature. Now a Premier League regular, Lallana captains Mauricio Pochettino's Saints side as he continues his feat as a one-club man. Lallana has gone on record to say he'd be happy to finish his career at Southampton if it was plausible for both club and player.
At the age of twenty-five, he now has two England caps to his name, after Roy Hodgson gave him over seventy minutes of action against both Chile and Germany. The boy from the Saints academy has done little to discredit his claims for a World Cup place.
Speaking after the 0-1 defeat to Germany at Wembley Stadium, England boss Roy Hodgson confirmed that Adam Lallana had now firmly placed himself in the reckoning ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
“He’s been good in both games," Hodgson told reporters.
“He’s been a major find, so when we do take positives from individuals certainly Adam Lallana will be high up on the list.”
When quizzed on whether the Southampton skipper had done enough to put himself in the frame for Hodgson's twenty-three man World Cup squad, this former Liverpool boss' answer was emphatic.
“Yes he has, there is no doubt about that.”
Lallana's performances against Chile and Germany have provided a good demonstration of his abilities. Close control, an ability to twist and turn his way out of trouble, forcing fouls and creating chances for others has been perfectly complimented by his willingness to fight for the ball, to press the opposition and to chase back and make vital defensive interceptions in the absence of marauding full-backs.
Lallana has just one more game before England's World Cup squad is due to be named, when England face Denmark at Wembley Stadium on the 5th of March 2014. Just how much further can Adam Lallana continue to rise is a question that may just remain unanswered for a little while longer.
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