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Luke is 'unbelievable' says skipper Lallana
7:00am Wednesday 5th December 2012 in Sport
Saints’ teenage left-back Luke Shaw is displaying a confidence and maturity well beyond his years.
That is the view of captain Adam Lallana, after watching the 17-year-old develop into a first-choice defender at the club.
Shaw has started the last five matches for Saints, turning in a series of eye-catching displays that have cemented his place in the team.
His introduction to the side has coincided with an improved run of defensive form, helping to strengthen what had become a problematic left-back position.
But it is not just Shaw’s performances that have caught the eye of his teammates. It is also his attitude.
“The confidence and matureness he has for such a young kid is unbelievable,” said Lallana, pictured below.
The Saints skipper added: “He’s come in and done absolutely outstanding. To think he’s still 17 is unbelievable.
“Credit to him, his fitness is coming on. He lasted the full game (against Liverpool), so he’s showing he’s making giant strides forward in his fitness.
“We all know the ability that he’s got. He’s unbelievable for his age.”
Shaw has been handed some daunting challenges since his introduction to Premier League action.
His initial start put him up against Swansea’s record signing and Spain international Pablo Hernandez.
A composed Shaw ensured that the winger had little impact on the game.
Last weekend, he was handed perhaps his most difficult test to date – a start at Anfield.
It wasn’t always easy for the youngster, who had to mainly deal with a mixture of Raheem Sterling and Jonjo Shelvey, but he emerged from the afternoon unscathed, and his reputation further enhanced.
Comparisons have already been drawn between Shaw, who has been attracting the interest of England’s elite clubs for some time, and Gareth Bale at that age.
Lallana is not surprised at how well Shaw has settled into the side.
“Not really. He’s such a chilled-out lad and kind of just takes it in his stride,” he said.
“I don’t think the occasion fazes Luke.
“He’s going to be one to watch for the future, there’s no doubt about that.”
Lallana himself has some degree of understanding of what it is like to be in Shaw’s boots.
The midfielder, now 24, was 18 when he was handed his Saints debut, and has grown from there to become one of the senior players in the side and, as of this season, the club’s captain.
With that experience behind him, Lallana is able to offer Shaw some valuable advice and guidance.
“It’s always nice to put an arm round any young lad and help him out,” he said.
“It’s what you want to do to your teammates.
You want to help them kind of settle in.
“It’s been easy to get Luke to settle in, because he’s such a good player and he takes it all in his stride.”