Adam Lallana: ‘Young players are forced to grow up so fast now, the pressures are greater than ever’

Melissa Reddy
·3-min read
Brighton midfielder Adam Lallana (Getty Images)
Brighton midfielder Adam Lallana (Getty Images)

Adam Lallana feels relief that his emerging years as a footballer happened before the explosion of social media scrutiny, which is impeding the natural development of young players on and off the pitch.

The Brighton midfielder, who was a guiding light to the academy prospects at Liverpool and has continued that role in the south coast, sympathises with the added strain these hopefuls have to deal with to crack it at an elite level.

“When I was younger, it was different. Social media wasn’t what it is now,” Lallana told the Between The Lines podcast. “Obviously there were camera phones and whatnot. But you weren't getting videoed or filmed what feels like 24/7 now.

“The kids have got to kind of grow up so much quicker. They are 17 or 18, but they're having to act like probably what I was doing when I was around 25 or 26.

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"I think I was I was lucky that when I was coming through, that wasn’t the case because it would have just added to all the other pressures times 10.”

Lallana admitted he “worries for the day” his kids want to set up social media accounts and spoke out about the recent abuse suffered by Liverpool’s teenage fullback Neco Williams.

“I came across it on my own socials that he took a bit of stick,” the 32-year-old says. “It was such ridiculous scrutiny and opinions from these keyboard warriors.

“This is a young that is learning. Of course, you're going to have some bad moments in games.

“To see a young lad coming through at a top level for a top team having to feel like he has deactivate or whatever, it’s just sad, isn't it?

“You can have one average game and then all the keyboard warriors are out. He is a young boy still, so he is not going to be used to reading things like that.

“This is the world we live in nowadays. He’s a good lad and I’m sure he’ll be stronger for it, but it’s not something that’s needed with all the other pressures around.”

Lallana also addressed the greater demands of this season, which has seen an escalation in injuries.

“I heard Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the other day, 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 that I don't understand why that needs to happen when it's easy enough for it not to happen.

“Give them the extra day to recover and put it on TV the next day. Because the players are the ones that suffer, you know, it feels like they’re just getting rolled out every three to four 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.”

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