Adam Lallana

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Adam Lallana is an English attacking midfielder who was born in St Albans on 10th May 1988. Lallana moved to Bournemouth as a youngster and joined his home town's centre of excellence. Southampton signed Lallana from Bournemouth in 2000 when he was just 12 years old. Saints paid The Cherries £3000 compensation, with a further £15,000 going to the club when Lallana signed professional terms. Bournemouth also stood to receive 25% of any future transfer fee.

Lallana mixed with the likes of Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale in Southampton's very successful youth set up. He provided a record number of assists for the U17's in 2003/04, but was then required to undergo surgery to correct an irregular heartbeat. Lallana recovered to help Saints win the 2005/06 Academy League. He made his first team debut in a League Cup tie against Yeovil on August 23rd 2006 and showed plenty of promise. He played just one more match that season, a 1-1 against Preston three days later.

Lallana was sent back to Bournemouth on loan in October 2007, lining up four times for The Cherries. He returned to Southampton to make a substitute appearance against Sheffield Wednesday on December 4th. He featured a further four times from the bench after that, including the penultimate game of the season at West Brom, where he scored to put Saints 1-0 up 13 minutes from time. West Brom went on to equalise, but Lallana's goal earned Saints a vital point which helped keep them up that season.

Cash strapped Southampton were forced to rely on mostly young players during 2008/09, which gave Lallana the chance to establish himself as a regular. He made a storming start to the season scoring in the tremendous Carling Cup win against Birmingham and at QPR, where he ran from his own half to score a fantastic equalising goal. Sadly as Saints' form dipped later in the season, so did Lallana's. He was inconsistent, with the pressure of a relegation battle possibly getting to the youngster. He did make his one and only appearance for England's Under 21 side during this time though.

Lallana really made a name for himself during Southampton's first term in League 1 in 2009/10. He grabbed his first goal of the season in the League Cup 1st round tie against Northampton. He followed that up with another 19, making him the first non centre forward to score 20 goals in a single campaign since Matt Le Tissier hit 30 in 1994/95. Lallana's creativity was immensely important for Saints. He regularly caused defences problems with his skilful dribbling. On November 24th he almost single-handedly turned a game at Hartlepool, scoring twice to overturn a 1-0 deficit. He netted Southampton's final goal of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy semi final victory over MK Dons, as well as the first in the 4-1 rout in the final against Carlisle. He rounded off a fantastic season with a goal on the last day against Southend.

Lallana missed the entire 2010/11 pre-season programme, which meant he was only fit enough to feature from the bench in Saints' opening day loss at home to Plymouth. He did manage a start three days later against former club Bournemouth, where he scored in a 2-0 League Cup victory. Shortly after Lallana had netted for Saints against Bristol Rovers on August 28th he was forced off due to injury. It's no coincidence that Southampton failed to win or even score during Lallana's absence. They looked a completely different team without the playmaker. He made his comeback as sub at Sheffield Wednesday on September 25th, in the clubs first victory since Bristol Rovers. Lallana continued to be Southampton's stand out man during his return to the side. His performances peaked that season at Christmas time, in big wins against Huddersfield, Exeter and Dagenham where he scored twice and created countless opportunities for others. Manager Nigel Adkins called him the best player in the division, while FourFourTwo magazine named him 2nd best player in their annual Football League awards issue.

Despite being linked to Premiership sides like Newcastle, Fulham and Stoke, Lallana penned a new four and a half year contract on January 7th 2011, much to the delight of every Saints fan. After scoring one of Southampton's 6 goals at Oldham on January 11th, Lallana was forced off with an injury again. He would not return until February 12th, when he came on as a second half substitute for Richard Chaplow against Carlisle. A couple of weeks later he scored against Swindon and put in a man of the match performance in the vital 3-1 besting of Bournemouth. He suffered yet another injury against Charlton on April 5th, which restricted him to the subs bench for two matches. He was named in the 2010/11 League 1 team of the year at the PFA awards on April 17th 2011. He celebrated by helping Saints to a 2-1 win at League One champions Brighton on April 23rd, completely changing the game after coming on at half time. Lallana finished the campaign strongly, and scored a goal at Brentford in a comfortable 3-0 victory on April 30th. He was named player's player of the year at the end of season awards in May.

Lallana enjoyed another stand-out season during 2011/12. He was at the heart of some exciting attacking play at the start of the campaign. Lallana scored a great goal against Leeds on the opening day, swivelling on the corner of the box before firing in off the post from a tight angle. He glided through the Barnsley defence with ease in a 1-0 win at Oakwell on August 13th, before putting Ipswich to the sword a few days later with a brace. Lallana twisted John Pantsil to such an extent on August 27th that the Leicester full-back fell over. On September 18th he made seasoned pros like Steven Caldwell and Stephen Carr look like pub players in a 4-1 win over Birmingham. Lallana was slightly less spectacular over October and November 2011, but was still productive enough, helping Saints maintain a top 2 spot. His form dipped slightly below his very high standards over the winter, although he still showcased the odd moment of magic. One particular piece of skill at Fratton Park on December 18th was especially eye-catching. Saints missed Lallana greatly when he was ruled out of the 2-0 home loss to Leicester on January 26th 2012 through injury. He returned to form in February, with goals against Millwall, Burnley and Derby. Lallana then netted twice against Barnsley on 10th March. He ended 2011/12 as strongly as he started. Lallana showed great desire and work-rate in his performances. He was as desperate as anyone to secure promotion. The gut-busting display against Portsmouth on April 7th typified his attitude. He scored the final goal of the season in the 4-0 promotion clinching game against Coventry on April 28th. Lallana was voted player's player of the year for the second time running.

Lallana made a storming start to Premier League life, with a powerful run resulting in a goal at Manchester City on the opening day. In 2012/13 he initially operated centrally, but soon moved back out wide out. Impressive displays against Wigan and Man United earned the Bournemouth boy international recognition. Lallana received an England call up in September 2012, and was an unused substitute in the World Cup Qualifying draw with Ukraine. Lallana was occasionally guilty of failing to protect his full-back in September/October 2012, but quickly rectified this. He scored against West Ham and Newcastle in improved displays. He limped off against Reading on December 8th with an injury which would keep him out for nearly two months. He returned on January 30th, with a skilful display at Old Trafford. Performances were mixed over the following few weeks. Lallana missed an easy chance in the 0-0 draw with Norwich in March, but bounced back with a goal in a fine display against Reading. Put in a few steady performances towards the end of the season. He also signed a deal until 2018.