Adam Lallana has called for the Football Association to make a swift decision on the next England manager so that a clear identity can be implemented.
The year started so memorably for England as they overcame world champions Germany 3-2 in their own backyard, only for things to unravel spectacularly at Euro 2016 as frustrating displays were followed by one of the country’s most embarrassing defeats ever.
The galling last-16 exit to Iceland led to the immediate exit of Roy Hodgson and, after much deliberation, Sam Allardyce was named successor – a reign that ended after just 67 days.
Lallana’s late strike secured a 1-0 win over Slovakia in his only match at the helm and the in-form Liverpool attacking midfielder returns to the fold preparing to play under a third England manager.
Despite having not spent much time with Gareth Southgate, the 28-year-old has been suitably impressed by the interim boss and hopes the managerial situation is resolved quickly for everybody’s sake.
“You need stability,” Lallana said ahead of Friday’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland. “What you don’t have at England is the time that you get at club level.
“You can’t prepare for a campaign as you would for a league over the course of the season. It’s not possible so it’s a different challenge.
“I’m sure Gareth will want to have that and we are ready to fight for him in the matches. Hopefully he will do well enough to get the job on a permanent basis.”
Lallana repeated the desire to fight for Southgate over the next week – an attitude synonymous with English players, but at times lacking when the team come together as a group.
Two years ago Southgate was one of those that helped launch the ‘England DNA’ philosophy aimed at creating winning national teams, although that has yet to translate to the men’s senior team.
Asked if England are struggling for identity, Lallana said: “Possibly. “It would be nice for Gareth and for us quite soon to know whether he’s going to get the job on a permanent basis, so you can build towards having a certain identity that your manager wants you to have.
“That’s what a manager is there for. I’m sure over the next few days the manager will be telling us what he wants for the Scotland and Spain games.
“Eventually it would be nice for him in the longer term to put a structure in place.
“For quite a few years now we’ve not done brilliantly at major tournaments so it’s up to us to maybe find an identity.
“Whether it’s the mental side of the game at tournaments that we’re struggling to cope with, we need to overcome that. By good, hard work I think we can do that.”
Jurgen Klopp has certainly achieved that at Liverpool, even if Lallana highlights the differences in managing club and country.
That work has helped Lallana form an enthralling Liverpool attacking quintet along with Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.
“Whatever he has done different to me, I think he has done to everyone,” Lallana said.
“It isn’t just myself. As a team we are performing to a high level.
“I am enjoying working with him, I feel I have really good relationship with him and that he trusts me.
“I trust him as well and when you have that connection, he can say stuff to you that you don’t want to hear and it doesn’t feel negative or personal.
“It’s always just business-related and wanting to win.”
Lallana has been an integral part of Klopp’s system at Liverpool since the German’s arrival a year ago, but the tweak to a more central position has seen him become more effective.
The 28-year-old has scored three and assisted five in 11 appearances this term, so it is little wonder he speaks with a confidence and conviction that only bodes well for England.
“Confidence is a thing that you can’t just switch on and off,” Lallana added.
“When you have confidence, it’s important to take advantage and use it as much as you can.
“I have that confidence just now and I want to take it on to the international stage.”