Jumat, 08 Februari 2013

Lallana impatient to get back

Adam Lallana: Eyeing a first start since December

Saints have not won any of their three matches since the Argentinian replaced Nigel Adkins at the helm and face the unenviable task of looking for a first victory against Manchester City.

It is a match in which Lallana could make his first start since December 8, having suffered a knee injury in the 1-0 defeat of Reading at St Mary's.

That was Southampton's last home victory and Lallana is hoping to make up for lost time against the reigning champions.

"I have been itching to get back now the whole time," he said.

"I've been there or thereabouts the last three or four weeks and I've made a couple appearances off the bench.

"I am fully fit and eagerly hoping to get some time from the start, whether I do, we will find out on Saturday.

"I was injured when Alan Pardew left the club and Adkins came in so I've experienced similar to this.

"It was frustrating because you want to get out there and prove to him your worth, real ly.

"He has been great and the language barrier is not an issue. You communicate fine and his assistant Jesus Perez, Miguel D'Agostino and goalkeeping coach Toni Jimenez can all speak English well.

"It is great and I am so far thoroughly enjoying my time under the gaffer."

Lallana believes Pochettino has already "put his footprint" on the team in the few weeks he has been in charge.

Despite having not yet secured a first win in English football, the former Espanyol manager's team have attracted plaudits from fans and pundits alike.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson even said Saints were the best team to have visited Old Trafford this season but Pochettino's side lost on the night - something Lallana knows cannot continue.

"We approach the Man City game how we have approached our previous three games under him," the left winger said.

"There have been some positive performances, we just want to turn them into points be cause that is the only way we're going to get up the table.

"If they've not got Pablo Zabaleta at right-back, they've got Micah Richards or name after name.

"They have top quality international players in their team but those kind of players that you relish.

"If I am up against Zabaleta, that's that. I will have to deal with and look forward to it."

There was an air of positivity around St Mary's yesterday, where Lallana was helping Southampton launch their new official timekeeper partnership with Eterna.

The winger was joined at the ground by frontman Rickie Lambert, who was overlooked by Roy Hodgson for the friendly against Brazil despite being this season's top English league scorer.

"I was surprised," Lallana, part of the squad that faced Ukraine in September, said of the omission.

"We were chatting in the changing rooms, especially after Jermain Defoe and Daniel Sturridge picked up knocks.

"He has got 11 Premier Le ague goals, the highest by an Englishman in the league, so the stats are there.

"He has been absolutely outstanding for us and as long as we have got him fit and healthy, ready for us, that is all I am worried about and probably the Saints fans too.

"He does deserve it and how far he has come as well in a short space of time is quite unbelievable."

Lallana and Lambert are both among Southampton's longest-serving players, along with Kelvin Davis and Jose Fonte.

All four have been highlighted as leaders by Pochettino and Lallana admits he is unclear as to whether he will remain captain under the new manager.

"I am not sure," he said. "I am just eagerly looking forward to coming back.

"I am only 24 and that is not a massive issue. If I am, then great. If not, I will still give 100 per cent for the team."

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