sport

Lallana backed for Brazil

Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino believes Adam Lallana is a 'very special player' who should go to the World Cup, claiming that if he had a Brazilian or Spanish nationality he would already be guaranteed a place.

Lallana has been a star performer for Saints this season and continued his fine form with a goal in Saturday's 3-0 victory away to Fulham.

England boss Roy Hodgson, who was in attendance at Craven Cottage, gave Lallana an international debut in the friendly defeat against Chile in November, and Pochettino insists he would be worthy of a spot in the final World Cup squad.

"In my opinion, if Adam Lallana had a Brazilian nationality, a Spanish nationality, if he were another Mata, Oscar, Hazard, or any of these types of players then, for sure, he would be going with their national side. I truly believe that," said Pochettino.

"Of course he is a very talented player, a very special player. He is a player I really praise, I really like his characteristics as a player and hopefully he can be on that plane to Brazil because I think he fully deserves to be there.

"You can see that he is one of the most talented players in the English game right now.

"He is the type of player that is hard to find in any other English team. It is clear to anyone the talent that he has got."

Lallana was not the only English player to catch the eye in Southampton's victory over Fulham, as Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert also scored in front of Hodgson.

It was Lambert's 100th league goal for Saints and Lallana has paid tribute to the striker, who was linked with a move to West Ham United last month.

Unbelievable asset

"He means everything to this football club," said Lallana.

"Obviously there was speculation with him during the transfer window, so just to see him still here in the Southampton shirt means the world, not just to me, but the club itself.

"He proved what an unbelievable asset he is for us and, without him, we probably might not be in the Premier League because he scored so many goals in League One and the Championship.

"He is our talisman. We turn to Rickie and we've all got that respect for him. It is a real pleasure playing with him."