World Cup: Lallana in Dreamland

World Cup: Lallana in Dreamland
England's Adam Lallana controls the ball against Honduras during an international friendly football match in Miami.

Charles Miller returned to Sao Paulo with a ball, a pair of boots and a rulebook.

The young Brazilian was sent by his parents to Southampton for school and a decade later returned to his homeland having learned one key lesson: football.

Miller introduced the beautiful game to Brazil in 1894 and is considered the father of football in the country so synonymous with the beautiful game.

The sport is a national obsession and this summer a city inextricably linked with its boon in South America will have an impact once more.

Only 17 clubs in world football had more players represented across the 32 provisional squads than Southampton, who have players representing Japan, France, Croatia, Uruguay as well as three with England.

Precociously-talented teenager Luke Shaw and frontman Rickie Lambert - who has since joined Liverpool - form part of Roy Hodgson's squad, but it is academy graduate Adam Lallana whose talents will be most appreciated by the home crowd.

CREATIVE

The 26-year-old is a creative force, a player who likes nothing more than to be running past players, fooling opponents with deft touches and beating goalkeepers.

Lallana's skills are unbecoming of an English player and may well see him start against Italy, little more than half a year after making his international debut.

He said: "I've never been to Brazil or to anywhere as far from my country as that, so to be going out there to play football in a tournament is unbelievable. I just can't wait.

"Brazil is a special nation. I grew up watching Brazilplay and they are always spoken about as a nation of flair, so it's a special country for footballers. Going to the World Cup is a great thing anyway, but to be going out there just tops it off."

Just three years ago, Lallana was part of a Saints side in the third tier of English football alongside international team-mate Lambert. He added: "I think we've both earned the right to be here, but this definitely tops off the last five years. We've worked hard and we've been rewarded with this opportunity."


This article was first published on June 10, 2014.
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