Adam Lallana and the similarity to an ex-Chelsea man who never quite soared

The Southampton player's performances would merit a start against Italy in Manaus. But have we had a player like him before for England?

It all seems a little familiar to me. An English player, showing the flair that so many great English teams of the past have lacked. The last time this happened, Joe Cole was being heralded as England's answer to the talent in world football. 

After injury and an unsuccessful transfer to Liverpool under current England manager Roy Hodgson, Cole went from being one of the most highly-rated to fighting for a place back where his career started at West Ham. 

It does seem unlikely that Lallana would follow the same path. The Saints' captain is settled at Southampton and has a core of talented, young English players around him, as well as a manager who appreciates what he offers – something Cole seemed not to have at Chelsea under Mourinho. 

Don't get me wrong, there have been many players less successful than Joe Cole. You can't take three Premier League titles, three FA Cups and trips to three World Cups away from someone. However it always felt like something was lacking, and that was, perhaps, support.

As a team England have never been one to get hold of the ball and put trust in their flair players to change a game – something Cole alluded to after the 2010 World Cup.

Things seem different now though, and with a number of exciting players coming through from the Under-21's, Lallana could prove to be an extremely important part of England's future.

Fans of English football have long been asking for a change to the style of play, and hopeful that success at major tournaments will come with it. With the types of players coming through at international level now, the change may be allowed to happen more naturally.  

Injuries permitting, Adam Lallana could have the longevity in his career that Cole was denied at both club and international level. It seems now that England is ready for a player of Lallana's style, and has a team to suit it. 

Only time will tell, but it can't hurt to hope. 

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