The fact that England defeated Scotland 3-0 at Wembley on Friday night in World Cup qualifying came as little surprise.
In truth, though, the scoreline flattered the hosts, as the visitors spurn a number of good opportunities in front of goal.
England had three shots on target through Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Gary Cahill that all found the back of the net.
It was not a perfect display from England, but one player stood for the home side for me, Adam Lallana.
Starting to become more influential
Liverpool’s attacking midfielder has always had a good football brain and good technique to boot. In League One and the Championship he was outstanding for Southampton, having come through the Saints now-famous academy.
He then found life in the top-flight slightly more difficult, before finding his form and earning a big move to Liverpool in 2014.
His career at Liverpool had been a story of inconsistency and underperforming prior to this campaign. This season all of a sudden he looks a top player. His football intelligence is shining for all to see.
At Liverpool he is scoring and creating goals. More importantly he looks like he is enjoying his football for both club and country. Against Scotland he worked hard, created and moved the ball at a good tempo.
In essence he produced an influential display. Few other England players looked capable of illustrating such things as creativity and energy in a Three Lions shirt.
Playing under Jurgen Klopp has helped him
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp deserves plaudits for the job he is currently doing on Merseyside. The German has his team playing excellent football. However, one of the biggest effects he has had is on the form of Lallana.
Klopp’s playing style has brought the best out of Lallana. It was evident even against Scotland that the style he plays at club level has impacted on his game. The speed that he moved the ball and the pressing was straight out of the Klopp handbook of football.
Lallana has not looked out of place alongside the likes of Brazilian pair Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino in the Reds attack this season.
In fact, he has played a key role in a number of the Reds victories this season. Lallana could play a crucial part in Liverpool’s title challenge, with the Merseysider’s odds of 5/2 to be crowned champions in May.
Klopp has helped bring the best out of Lallana and improved him as a player. I suppose it is only what good managers do, but there seems to be so few bosses capable of doing that in the English game.
The Lallana and Klopp situation is a prime example of foreign coaches bringing something positive to English players and team. In theory it should have happened more in the last two decades. However, maybe English players do not have the same football intelligence as their foreign counterparts.
Lallana is an example to other England players
Adam Lallana could be a good example to other English players. Last season he was struggling to make an impact at Liverpool. With the right coaching and the right attitude the attacking midfielder has improved beyond all recognition.
So many English players are highly-lauded in the early periods of their career. They have big expectations placed on their shoulders. However, so many fail to fulfil their potential.
The reasons for Lallana’s improvement could have been influenced by many things. Liverpool’s coaching staff, a more determined attitude or he could just be maturing as a person.
Whatever the main reasons for his improvement this season, as an England fan I am just thankful that we have a player like Lallana in the team. Maybe some of his international teammates should follow his lead.
Is Adam Lallana now England’s most influential player?