England boss Sam Allardyce has style as well as substance, says midfielder Adam Lallana

Ross McLean
Follow Ross
England Training Session and Press Conference
Source: Getty

England midfielder Adam Lallana has dismissed concerns over new boss Sam Allardyce’s reputation as a long-ball merchant as the Three Lions prepare for their opening World Cup qualifier against Slovakia on Sunday.

Allardyce was handed the reins following England’s disastrous showing at Euro 2016 which culminated in a shock defeat to European minnows Iceland at the last-16 stage and the resignation of Roy Hodgson.

Despite his own assertions to the contrary, former Bolton, Blackburn and Sunderland manager Allardyce has failed to shrug off criticism of his style and the supposed one-dimensional nature of his tactics during a long managerial career.

Such accusations were particularly prominent while in charge of West Ham, despite him establishing the Hammers as a Premier League club after they had been relegated to English football’s second tier. Lallana insists the England players have no such worries.

“He spoke to us about wanting to win,” said Lallana. “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 on where we are playing and who we are playing, that the style may change.

“It sounds like a sensible plan to me. He seems adaptable which is a good quality to have when you’re a manager. 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’re 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.”

While insisting the squad has moved on from that harrowing defeat against Iceland in Nice in June, the need for England to win on Sunday and start the process of restoring faith in the national team is not lost on Lallana.

“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.”