Tough moments have moulded me, says Lallana

Albion midfielder reflects on a career of highs and lows.

By Charlie Hanson • 11 November 2020

By Paul Hazlewood
Adam Lallana believes the tough times in his career have helped make him the player he is today.

Adam Lallana believes the setbacks he has had in his career have led to the success he has enjoyed.

The lows include spells out with injuries and relegation, but the highs have seen him lift the Premier League and Champions League trophies with former club Liverpool.

“When I was younger I wasn't blessed with big, physical attributes, my qualities were more technical. I had to be patient. I was part of the Southampton team that was relegated down to League One when I was 19 or 20, but, in terms of my exposure, that suited me down to the ground. It toughened me up and I played a lot of games.

By Paul Hazlewood
Adam Lallana in action for Southampton at Withdean in 2011.

“We won back-to-back promotions and to this day they are some of the best moments of my career. It gave me a good basis to continue developing.

“It was a big learning curve for me and it kept me grounded. The EFL are three tough leagues that instil a lot of hard work in a player.

“The first season in the Premier League was difficult for me – I was made captain and I was trying too hard. I put myself under more pressure, but I was a young captain and was still finding my way.

“I learned that wearing the armband doesn't necessarily mean you have to do more, you just need to be yourself. That's why I was made captain in the first place.

“We did well in the end to stay up and since that season the club hasn't looked back.”

Mauricio Pochettino was appointed Southampton boss in 2013, where the pair worked together for a year.

“I have still got a great relationship with Mauricio and he moulded me into the player I am today and we're still in contact. When he came to the club he could see I was playing with pressure on my shoulders and I wasn't playing freely.

“He saw that and he talked it out of me and by the following season I was playing the best football of my life. Big credit to him. He could see I was a talented player, but he could see I wasn't playing to my best. We had a lot of conversations and they were amazing, it was like a balloon being popped, it immediately took the pressure off.

“I became a lot fitter under him and he introduced the art of pressing into my game and I loved it. There were a lot of players that benefited from working with him.”

The 2013/14 season saw the 32-year-old named in the Premier League PFA Team of the Year, which earned him a move to Anfield.

By Paul Hazlewood
Adam Lallana wrestles for possession with former Albion midfielder Dale Stephens during the England international's time at Liverpool.

“My first year at Liverpool was a really tough one looking back. The only three players that performed above par that season were the three that had been there the longest – Jordan Henderson, Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho.

“We lost Luis Suarez, but Liverpool were still expected to win the league, I was one of seven signings and some of them were really young or didn’t speak the language. Me and Ricky [Lambert] came from Southampton at the same time.

“You always learn from those moments in your life about yourself.

“You would love to settle immediately, but that’s not always the case. It was about trusting what I believed was right and things worked out.”