Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lallana Backs Sterling Even If It Costs Him His Place against Italy; Southampton Midfielder Talks Up His Rival as the Battle for Places in the Starting XI Intensifies. James Olley Reports from Rio WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN2 Days to Go

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lallana Backs Sterling Even If It Costs Him His Place against Italy; Southampton Midfielder Talks Up His Rival as the Battle for Places in the Starting XI Intensifies. James Olley Reports from Rio WORLD CUP COUNTDOWN2 Days to Go

Article excerpt

Byline: James Olley reports

THE case for Raheem Sterling to start in England's World Cup opener against Italy on Saturday is gathering such momentum that even Adam Lallana is championing his cause.

Lallana is probably the biggest loser from England's warm-up preparations, aside from injury victim Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. A fine season with Southampton culminated with firm interest in Liverpool and a big-money end-ofseason move correlated with an upward trajectory that would seemingly continue with a starting berth in Manaus.

However, just as his move to Anfield has stalled latest indications suggests the club are unwilling to go beyond their PS25million valuation Lallana has found himself usurped by fellow squad members jostling for pre-eminence in Roy Hodgson's line-up.

Oxlade-Chamberlain's convalescence continues at a pace sufficient to suggest he can play towards the end of the group stage, while Ross Barkley has enhanced his case no end, at the very least as an impact player against tiring defences.

But while Lallana contributed to a promising degree of invention early on in Saturday's draw against Honduras, his particular storm appeared to blow itself out in the first-half hiatus created by lightning around the Sun Life Stadium in Miami. And as Lallana drifted into ignominy in Miami, Sterling's case was enhanced despite his ill-advised fracas resulting in a red card last week. Hodgson even took the time to give the Liverpool teenager a ringing endorsement of his response in training.

That continued upon touching down here in Rio de Janeiro where England held their first open training session yesterday and Sterling (right) dazzled once again. Captain Steven Gerrard had taken a quiet moment with Sterling to reiterate the importance of his reaction to a sending off that denied him one last opportunity to impress and he has clearly taken that message to heart.

Lallana, whose place is most under threat from Sterling's effervescence given Wayne Rooney's pre-eminence in the hole behind Daniel Sturridge, and Hodgson's fondness for Danny Welbeck's work ethic on the left, was effusive in his praise of a player who has emerged as a rival almost as rapidly as he so often flies down the right flank. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.