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Adam Lallana’s role may be the key for Southampton's Premier League success
Saints have strength in depth in the midfield, particularly central areas, but they are short of creativity with the qualities of the players they have being more perspiration rather than regular inspiration.
The stats from last season highlight that with Lallana bagging 11 league goals and ten assists.
The rest of the regular midfielders put together only managed 11 assists and nine goals between them.
Instead, they did the ugly things well to allow the forward talents such as Lallana, the strikers and the full backs the chance to attack.
Lallana is the creative force but the big question over him has always been not whether he has the raw skill to play at the top level, but where you play him.
Lallana has been such a threat over the past few seasons on the left of midfield, but it is hard to see a long term place for him there in the Premier League.
At that level, when we have to assume Saints will not see as much of the ball, it’s easy to get isolated out wide, and especially in a league where pace on the flanks is king.
The type of creative talent Le Saux speaks of is exactly the kind of tools that Lallana has at his disposal.
But, importantly, playing from a central area where they will see plenty of the ball and can be an effective attacking force.
That would therefore mean Adkins either having to try and accommodate Lallana as one of a central midfield pair, effectively playing an out and out holding midfielder alongside him.
Or it would mean switching formation to play Lallana in a more advanced role either off of a main striker or off a pair of strikers, meaning only three midfielders behind him.
There is plenty of thinking for Adkins to do.
He won’t want to see his side exposed defensively, but one thing Saints have to make sure they do next season is score enough goals to stay up.
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