Adam Lallana has denied referee Mark Clattenburg’s alleged claim that international football has changed him.
Southampton wrote to the Football Association in January, complaining about Clattenburg’s conduct in the club’s 2-1 defeat at Everton.
The south coast club alleged Clattenburg told Lallana: ‘’You are very different now since you’ve played for England – you never used to be like this.’’
The Southampton midfielder denies that is the case, but he insists he has no problem with the official, who was cleared of any wrongdoing.
When asked whether becoming an international had changed him, the Southampton captain said: “Not at all really, no.
“I’ve taken lots out of it, training-wise, playing with the best players and it’s where you want to be.”
Lallana was hurt by the criticism he received following the complaint, but he was at pains to stress it was Southampton and not himself who sent the letter.
“The club made a complaint, not me,” the Saints captain said.
“Mark has refereed us since. I saw him when we exchanged team-sheets before the West Ham game and we were absolutely fine. It was blown out of proportion.
“You have to try and take it in your stride as much as you can.”
Lallana has had to take an awful lot in his stride over the last few years.
In 2006 he was on a high having just made his Saints debut following his promotion from the club’s famed academy.
Three years later Southampton nearly went out of business. Saints went into administration and were only spared from going to the wall when Markus Liebherr stepped in to buy the club.
Unlike others before him, Lallana opted to stay at the club and he reckons that decision made him the man he is today.
“I might not be here (with England) if I’d left when Southampton went into administration,” the 25-year-old said.
“We were relegated with minus 10 points and there was talk of liquidation. We didn’t get paid one month. Those were the dark days, but it’s been great ever since.”
Lallana has been key to Southampton’s ascent through the leagues and he has also reaped the benefits himself.
The midfielder was appointed club captain upon Southampton’s promotion to the Premier League and he then won his first England caps against Chile and Germany.
Of the players on the fringes of Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad, he seems one of the players who is more likely to make the final 23.
That has had one downside though – he had to cancel his wedding that was planned for June 14, the day of England’s World Cup opener against Italy.
Lallana had to bring the wedding forward six months, treating his now wife Emily to a £500 wedding in Poole on Christmas Eve.
“I was planning a wedding for the summer when there was a chance I might not be there,” he said.
“We had a great day. It was a mutual decision. If anything, it’s less stress for me.
“I can just concentrate on doing as well as I can now. If selected for the World Cup, the honeymoon will be after. But there’s still a long way to go.”
Lallana cut a relaxed figure as he spoke to the media at England’s Hertfordshire base yesterday.
Following two impressive performances for the Three Lions, he does not look or feel out of place within the international set-up.
Like the other 29 members of Hodgson’s squad, Lallana took part in a photoshoot for England’s new World Cup kit.
The appearance of the kit is so secret that organisers draped a huge black curtain around the room where the shoot was taking place.
Photos of the supposed new kit – which is expected to be all white due to new FIFA regulations – have been leaked online, but no official details have yet been released.
Lallana and the rest of his team-mates were also fitted with a grey suit which he will wear to South America if he makes the cut.
All this has whetted Lallana’s appetite for the World Cup and he will do everything he can to impress Hodgson during this week’s get together for the friendly against Denmark tomorrow night.
“This is the last chance we’ll have to impress in an England shirt, so it is going to be a big night,” Lallana said. “I’ll do everything I can to prove my worth.
“Having the chance, the slight chance of maybe going to a World Cup, is quite remarkable.”
Lallana did not train yesterday morning, but he is sure he will be fit to face the Danes if selected.
Andros Townsend, Steven Caulker and John Ruddy all underwent light training as they played on Sunday.
Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker is almost certain to miss the game with a hip problem.
Spurs manager Tim Sherwood said following the 1-0 win over Cardiff that the defender would not play against the Danes.