JACK Cork expects Adam Lallana to go to the World Cup if he continues his current form. Lallana’s trickery was behind Saints’ best moments against West Bromwich Albion and his finishing was rewarded with the crucial goal – his second winner in as many games.
Lallana has now bagged six goals in 23 games for Saints this season, compared to three in 30 outings in 2012/13.
Saturday’s goal was his 44th in the league for Saints in 218 appearances.
With Theo Walcott out of the World Cup with a serious knee injury, Cork is confident Lallana will be on the plane to Brazil.
He said: “It would be silly not to take someone like Adam along, especially with Theo getting injured and playing in a similar position. “The way he’s playing and the form he’s showing, I would think he will go. It would be good to have that option on the bench.”
Cork believes Lallana has gone up a level this season, thanks in part to the confidence that came with winning his first England cap. “Last season he was good but it was our first in the Premier League - this season he’s been exceptional,” said Cork. “Some of the stuff he’s been doing in games has been amazing. “Fair play to him, he’s been working hard and I know how much it means to him. He’s really flourished.
“We see it in training all the time and now it’s great to see him getting the praise he deserves.
“He’s playing some of the best football of his life at the minute.
“He looks so confident and his goal was taken well after a great piece of skill from Gaston.”
Ramirez’s introduction for Cork was decisive. Within four minutes of coming on, the Uruguayan produced a wonderful, incisive one-touch pass from which Lallana scored. It deflected more than a little attention from Ramirez’s new hairstyle, his braids provoking plenty of dressing room banter from his teammates. “A couple of them have come out, they’re looking a bit scruffy and Gazza’s (Gazzaniga) trying to tie it back up for him – it might be gone next week,” laughed Cork, who was more impressed by Ramirez’s cameo.
“Gaston shows flashes of brilliance, he’s an amazing player when he’s on form and does stuff like that,” he said. “He has so much quality, it’s just trying to get the best out of him and see how we can use him.”
Cork is hoping Saints can finish the season as strongly as they started it following this result.
“We’ve had a tough month against some big teams and it’s great to get out of that bad run and start moving forward again,” he said.
“We looked at a few clips from our play at the start of the season to see what we could do differently from the bad patch we had at Christmas time.
“We just tried to go back to how we were, to get the pressing back, to have that energy and aggression.
“We did that so big congratulations to the lads for getting back into it. West Brom turned us over (twice) last season but we played some good stuff at times.”