Brighton and Hove Albion and England midfielder Adam Lallana has given his take on the debate about the amount of matches clubs are having to play and the impact it’s having on the players, saying, ‘The players are the ones that suffer… we have seen an increase in injuries and there’s no coincidence that it’s because of the amount of games that are being played. Simple as that.’   

In the latest episode of ‘Between The Lines’ podcast, Lallana spoke with host Melissa Reddy in a wide-ranging interview, discussing the start of his career at the Southampton Academy, the pressure that players are under due to social media, and why he’s not yet considering a move into management in the future.

Lallana was asked about the relentless football schedule this season, with time lost due to the pandemic being made up for with increased numbers of midweek games and unusual kick off times, and the midfielder agreed that the increased number of matches was to blame for the increased number of injuries that have been seen across the Premier League.

Adam Lallana: “The amount of games you have is relentless, and I think, you know, we’re all going through a phase at the minute where there’s been an increase in injuries, there’s lots of debates happening about whether we should have five subs in the Premier League. The players are the ones that just get ‘go on, play another game, play another game in three or four days’.  

“I heard Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the other day – they (Manchester United) were in Turkey on the Wednesday and then they played on the Saturday at Goodison Park first thing. And I agree with him. 

“I don’t understand why that needs to happen when it’s easy enough for it not to happen, you know, give them the extra day and put it on TV the next day. Because the players are the ones that suffer, you know, they’re the ones that it feels like they’re just getting rolled out every 3-4 days.  

“Especially during this pandemic which brings the added pressures. I don’t think it’s fair, but who am I to say that? It’s another talking point isn’t it, but we have seen an increase in injuries and there’s no coincidence that it’s because of the amount of games that are being played. Simple as that.” 

Later in the interview, Lallana was asked whether he would consider a move into management, given his interest in nurturing the younger players at the clubs he’s played for. Lallana said that now that he’s getting more game time at Brighton & Hove Albion, he’s focused on enjoying playing as much football as he can over the next few years before making a decision about going into management.

Melissa Reddy: “Given the managers you’ve worked with, given the fact that you have quite a tactical mind, post-football, are you thinking that management – especially given how much you like working with youngsters and aiding their development – is that where your mind is heading eventually?” 

Lallana: “The truth is I still don’t know. I’m still not sure. I think over the last couple of years at Liverpool, I didn’t play so much. I felt me being a big impact in the training, being a big kind of personality around the young lads, how we kind of created the culture that created the environment at Liverpool, that really kind of stimulated me and gave me another focus, because I wasn’t playing as much, so I was training a lot and training hard.  

“So, I think that did really give me, as I said, another stimulation that you need as a footballer. You know, it’s difficult for anyone who’s not getting regular minutes and that really did help me and give me another focus. Whereas, you know, now I’m at Brighton, I’m playing a lot more, I’m feeling as fit as I’ve felt for a couple of years, simply because I’m playing regularly and I’m getting minutes, I don’t feel like I’m ready to think about that yet. 

“I want to give every bit of attention to me right now, and that’s playing. I don’t want to be thinking to myself, ‘what do I want to be doing when I’ve finished’ because, you know, I’ll never get these 3-4 years back, and I want to make sure that I get every bit out of these 3, 4, 5 years that I’ve got left playing.” 

Earlier in the interview, Lallana also spoke about the beginning of his career, and the year and a half he worked under Mauricio Pochettino, as captain of Southampton, and what the influential manager taught him.

Lallana: “He taught me a lot. I was lucky enough to work with Mauricio for a year and a half. We had a two hour conversation where we spoke about everything, family, this, that, the other, and it came up in conversation that the chairman was calling me, and he just knew instantly that that was the reason I wasn’t playing as well as I could, because it was just added pressures. I was basically just trying too hard. 

“Mauricio also taught me just a lot about values, not just in football, but to have in life, really. He would get to work at 7am and he’d be leaving at like 5/6pm, and they’d be in the office all day. He’d just have music on YouTube playing and the scented smells going, he’d call lots of players in at different times just for chats, to ask you about your family. He invested so much in to you as a human, as a person.”

You can listen to the full interview with Adam Lallana in the new episode of ‘Between The Lines with Melissa Reddy’ now, plus previous episodes with Gary Lineker, Mauricio Pochettino, Alex Scott and Daniel Sturridge – all available here.

With episodes released every two weeks, Between The Lines is a podcast that talks to the biggest names to discuss the subjects most interesting to fans, including the behind the scenes insight that underpins everything across the top of the game.

From Premier League managers attempting to coach their team while dealing with personal tragedy, to the thorny subject of online abuse and trolls, and from world-class footballers pursuing other interests away from the game, or attempting to bounce back from career-threatening injury, listeners will learn something new in every episode – via honesty and unrivalled insight from the very best players, managers and other protagonists from the game we love.

The show’s producer is Charlie Morgan, and the podcast is produced by Stakhanov.




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