Euro 2016: Adam Lallana says Wales & Gareth Bale should fear England

By Phil McNultyChief football writer in Chantilly
Adam Lallana playing against Russia at Euro 2016
Adam Lallana is yet to score for England
Wales v England
Venue: Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens Date: 16 June Kick-off: 14:00 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio 5 live, the BBC Sport website and app. Live text commentary on BBC Sport website.

Adam Lallana claims England will not be intimidated by Wales' Gareth Bale when they meet in Lens on Thursday in their Euro 2016 encounter.

Lallana's former Southampton team-mate scored a trademark free-kick in Wales' 2-1 win against Slovakia and has dominated the pre-match build-up.

Asked whether the aura around Bale, 26, would affect England, Lallana said: "I know that won't affect me or our team.

"We've got plenty of players with that aura and special talent."

Lallana, 28, who came through the youth system at Saints with Bale, added: "I don't believe that will come into play at all."

Bale has been outspoken in the run-up to a game that carries huge significance after England only drew 1-1 in their opening game against Russia, claiming Wales had more "passion" than Roy Hodgson's side.

"I'm sure he didn't mean it in too serious a manner, knowing Gareth," said Lallana. "It's part and parcel of the build-up. We know that we will do our talking on the pitch like I believe they will want to do. The match can't come soon enough for me.

"Maybe they want to spice things up before a big game but we're all used to that. It is about not getting lured into it."

Gareth Bale
Gareth Bale scored seven of Wales' 11 goals in qualifying and has scored 20 times in 56 games for his country

And rather than being intimidated by Bale, Lallana believes England possess the attacking threat to strike fear into the Welsh.

England had Leicester City's title-winning inspiration Jamie Vardy, who scored 24 goals in their Premier League triumph on the bench in the draw against Russia, along with Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge and 18-year-old Marcus Rashford, who made such a big impression in his first season in the first team at Manchester United.

Harry Kane, the Premier League's top scorer with 25 goals for Tottenham last season, played against the Russians with England captain Wayne Rooney moved to a deeper role to accommodate Hodgson's range of attacking options.

Lallana said: "I think they'll definitely be thinking about that. Anyone would who is playing against us and looking at our team - not just our team but our squad. There are attacking players on the bench we can use and there are great options there."

"It's definitely one of the best England squads I've been involved in, so if someone is having a bad day, or there are injuries or suspensions, we've got options in abundance to come in and keep the standards high."

So should Wales be worried about England? "I think they will be and will be doing their preparation to try and stop us," said Lallana.

Wales are two points ahead of England after the first round of games, Chris Coleman's side opening with victory against Slovakia while Hodgson's side conceded a last-minute equaliser against Russia in Marseille.

And Lallana admits these results mean England go into the game as the team under greater pressure.

"Yes that's the case but we thrive on pressure week in and week out," he said. "It brings out the best in us. That's what we have to deal with. It's a big football match, not just because it is Wales versus England but because of the state of the group.

"It would be great for us to get the win with how the group lies at the minute."

The teams meet in Lens at 14:00 BST.

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