Slovakia v England: ‘Adaptable’ Allardyce impresses midfielder

Adam Lallana.
Adam Lallana.
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Adam Lallana has already been impressed with Sam Allardyce and is in no way concerned about the new England manager’s reputation as a long-ball tactician.

Allardyce was appointed as Roy Hodgson’s successor after a dismal showing at Euro 2016 ended with a round-of-16 defeat at the hands of Iceland.

The 61-year-old has been a mainstay of the Premier League for the last 15 years during tenures at Bolton, Newcastle, Blackburn, West Ham and Sunderland – but during that time he has faced constant criticism of the style of football his teams play.

He has battled against those claims, especially throughout his time at West Ham, but many England fans remain sceptical.

Lallana – still searching for his first England goal having been capped 26 times – has no such concerns and believes Allardyce’s adaptability can only help the national team move on from the summer’s disappointment.

Asked about the style of play associated with Allardyce, the Liverpool midfielder said: “He spoke to us about wanting to win, which is quite simple really. We haven’t gone into too much detail about specific styles. I don’t think he has a specific style. He has mentioned how, depending where we are playing and who we are playing, that the style may change. It sounds like a sensible plan for me. He seems adaptable which is a good quality to have when you’re a manager. Things have been quite straightforward for me and I have been very impressed with what I’ve seen.

“Since I’ve played for England I wouldn’t say we have had a specific style. Things change in games and the manager has made it clear to us that he expects us to take responsibility, especially when we are out on the field.

“We have not had too many meetings and he’s not wanted to throw loads of information at us straight away. Training has been very enjoyable and the lads are buzzing. He has been very relaxed towards us.”

Allardyce’s first game in charge comes in Sunday’s World Cup qualifier in Slovakia, who held England to a goalless draw at the European Championships. But it was the defeat to Iceland which led to Hodgson’s resignation and, while Lallana knows it is now time to move on, he admits he will never recover from that night in Nice.

Asked if he had comes to terms with the loss, he said: “I don’t think so. I think it will always hurt anyone that was involved. We have to move on and that is all we can do.

“We have a new manager, a lot of new staff and a few new players and it is important we start fresh and go on a new journey. We had a good qualifying campaign last time out so we are looking for more of the same.

“I think what happened in the summer is irrelevant. We definitely need to win on Sunday. We are England and, as much as people put pressure on us to win games, we put the most pressure on ourselves to win.

“We know we are a very talented group of lads. We know it is important to work hard this week, do as much good training as possible because it is a new manager who will have new ideas and it may be a different team selections and a different way he wants to play. It is our job to do the job, not just at the weekend but throughout the whole campaign.”

Fraser Forster, meanwhile, has been forced out of Sunday’s qualifier after suffering an arm injury.

The Southampton goalkeeper is understood to have been sent back to his club for treatment, with Allardyce now expected to call up a replacement. Joe Hart is favourite to start Sunday’s clash, fresh from completing a loan move to Torino from Manchester City.

Forster was believed to have been in the frame to start the first match of Allardyce’s reign in Slovakia.

But Hart will no doubt be boosted by the potential reprieve.

The 29-year-old has been sent out on loan with new Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola demanding his goalkeepers fit more comfortably into his sweeper-keeper style system.