Adam Lallana tasted life in the England squad following his call-up for the World Cup qualifier against Ukraine 12 months ago, but the Southampton manager, Mauricio Pochettino, believes the uncapped midfielder will receive more calls from Roy Hodgson in the near future.
Lallana inspired his side to maintain their Champions League push with a home victory over Swansea and capped off a man-of-the-match display with the opening goal on 19 minutes. The 25-year-old midfielder fired high past Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm before substitute Jay Rodriguez sealed the win late on, but it was Lallana’s stand-out display which left Pochettino insisting the former England Under-21 is close to senior honours if he can sustain his eye-catching form.
Pochettino said: “I’m very happy for Adam. He’s a great bloke and a great professional and he’s very passionate about this club, about Southampton, so I’m happy for him. I’m very happy that he scored and for everything he represents – all the good values – at this club.
“It’s not my decision in the end, but if he keeps performing as he did today he’ll be actually very close to getting that call-up to the national side.”
It was a third successive win for Pochettino’s side who are now fourth in the Premier League and there is a good consistency with just three defeats in 19 fixtures. Yet Swansea probably shaded this contest between two attractive sides on chances.But Michael Laudrup’s team could not find a way past Poland goalkeeper Artur Boruc despite the willingness of Wilfried Bony, Michu and Nathan Dyer, who saw his left-footed effort cannon against the post in the first period.
Pochettino, whose side have only conceded two league goals this season, added: “Artur was incredible. It just shows we have full trust in his performances and his skill. We were able to keep another clean sheet, a massive positive.”
The hosts deserved their 19th minute lead when Lallana nipped inside Ben Davies down the left-back’s channel to latch on to Steven Davis’ pass and beat Vorm with a strike into the top corner.
It was the first time Southampton had scored a first-half goal this season, but it woke the visitors up. Michu had a header saved by Boruc before the Pole palmed away Jonjo Shelvey’s 20-yarder.
England striker Rickie Lambert had Vorm scrambling across his goal with a 30-yard free-kick, but Swansea could have drawn level moments later. Dyer cracked the post after he galloped onto Bony’s excellent backheel, but Southampton breathed a sigh of relief as the ball drifted across the goalline to safety.
As the half wore on, Swansea grew in presence and Boruc came to the rescue when he saved Bony’s header before Michu headed into his arms on the stroke of half-time.
Chances were few and far between in the second period but Southampton clinched victory with seven minutes remaining courtesy of shambolic defending from the Welsh side. Jordi Amat headed Boruc’s long punt into the air before Chico Flores hesitated to allow Rodriguez to pounce and fire past Vorm into the bottom corner.
Laudrup, the Swansea manager, said: “It’s true that Southampton were the best team in the first 10 minutes, but, after the first goal, we dominated the whole game.”
Ben Davies is set to miss Wales’ World Cup double-header with Macedonia and Belgium with a hamstring while national captain Ashley Williams will also be assessed by Chris Coleman’s medical team today.
To see how all of the Premier League action unfolded on Sunday CLICK HEREReuse content