Lallana: I'm a different player now

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Adam Lallana admits he is a different player to the one that last represented Southampton a decade ago, but still believes he has plenty to offer on his return to St Mary’s.

The former England international, now 36, has signed a one-year deal to return to the club where his professional career began half his life ago, having made his Saints debut back in 2006 at the age of 18.

Then a tricky winger, Lallana has matured into a midfield orchestrator whose football intelligence has extended his career at the highest level, and seen him win some of the biggest prizes in the game during his time at Liverpool.

Now he is excited for his Saints homecoming and the opportunity to play under Russell Martin, a manager whose infectious personality had an instant impact on his first summer signing.

“What really impressed me during my meetings with Russell was how calm he was, how confident he was, how he knew what I wanted and how I could help the team, on and off the pitch as well,” Lallana said.

“I’m not a youthful Lallana anymore! I think I’m a different player that left the building – definitely wiser, definitely smarter, but to feel the value that he saw that I could have at this football club, I knew straightaway it had to happen and I wanted to make it happen.”

Martin’s philosophy, Lallana reckons, has parallels with his former Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi, which will help him on the pitch, as well as educate a young and hungry Saints squad.

“I love football, I playing football and I love Russell’s style. It’s very similar to Roberto’s style – a manager who I’ve expressed my love for as well and Russell knows that, and he knows that their styles are relatively similar.

“I definitely feel I can help and I know the philosophy Russell wants to promote. Being very experienced in the Premier League, I feel I can help the football club adapt quickly to the level, because although they were only there a couple of years ago, there are still probably players who haven’t played so much in the league, and it is different.

“The quality that you’re up against is very strong and you get punished, so I just feel I can help some of the lads adapt a little bit quicker, and if I can influence them in a positive way in any way, shape or form then obviously I’m happy to help.”

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