Adam Lallana will report for England duty early this week in an effort to prove his fitness for the World Cup.
England manager Gareth Southgate has given Liverpool’s players the week off after Saturday’s Champions League final defeat by Real Madrid but Lallana, who is on the standby list, will arrive at St George’s Park tomorrow in a bid to prove he is fit for Russia.
Lallana, 30, was not named in England’s 23-man squad, though Southgate is a huge admirer. But the England boss is worried that Lallana has started only three games during an injury-ravaged campaign. He came on as an early substitute for Mohamed Salah in Saturday’s final but lacked sharpness.
Adam Lallana has joined up with England squad early in a bid to prove he is fit enough to go
With that in mind, he has decided to report for World Cup duty before club and international team-mates Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, in case he is promoted into Southgate’s final 23-man party.
The versatility in Southgate’s squad indicates that Lallana would be the beneficiary if any of England’s outfield squad are injured before the tournament begins. Henderson and Alexander-Arnold are scheduled to join the rest of the squad at the weekend, meaning they will almost certainly miss Saturday’s first warm-up game against Nigeria at Wembley.
England’s Anfield contingent know they will have to quickly overcome the huge disappointment of losing to Real Madrid.
And the FA are confident they have the infrastructure in place to help the trio come to terms with the experience. Pippa Grange, the FA’s psychology expert, will be on hand if required.
Lallana came on for Salah after 30 minutes and wants to be first choice if someone drops out
Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard has been a concern because of an ankle problem but he returned to training yesterday. Leicester centre back Harry Maguire sat out the session as part of his own special programme.
Trevoh Chalobah, the 18-year-old Chelsea defender, was called up to train with the seniors yesterday and will remain with the squad until tomorrow.
Meanwhile, centre half Gary Cahill says he never gave up hope of returning to the England squad after his snub earlier this year.
The Chelsea defender, who will go to Russia as England’s most experienced player, was axed by Southgate for the March internationals against Holland and Italy.
At the time, Cahill, 32, had lost his place in the Chelsea team and his England hopes looked forlorn. But he played for Chelsea late in the season and has clawed his way back into Southgate’s plans.
Gary Cahill reveals he feared worst but never gave up on making the World Cup squad
‘I didn’t think my chance was gone but I felt it had taken a knock, especially with it being the last squad before the World Cup,’ Cahill said.
‘I had to really dig deep to get myself back in the frame but I never gave up on the belief that I could make the squad.
‘When I saw the missed call from Gareth Southgate, I thought potentially it could be bad news because in my experience of being involved with England for seven or eight years you usually don’t get the call, you just receive the information that you’re going to meet up and what times, etc.
‘So to get the call a different way — I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous when I was listening to it but I was delighted to be involved in another World Cup tournament.’
Meanwhile, Tunisia, England’s first World Cup opponents, came back from 2-0 down to earn a creditable 2-2 draw against Portugal in Braga last night.
Author: Nancy Parker
Nancy Parker is a five time Emmy Award winning journalist and seven time Emmy nominee who has spent almost twenty five years covering news in South Louisiana. She has anchored every prime time newscast at WVUE FOX8 during her twenty year tenure in New Orleans.