Adam Lallana took another step towards the World Cup, with Mauricio Pochettino praising his “unique” star after his wonder goal against Newcastle.

Lallana was at the heart of a pulsating Saints performance as they demolished Newcastle 4-0 at St Mary’s, writes ADAM LEITCH.

England assistant manager Ray Lewington watched on as Jay Rodriguez, Lallana and Rickie Lambert shared the goals to boost their chances of a World Cup trip to Brazil.

There was little doubt though that the highlight was Lallana’s stunning strike from 25 yards that rocketed into the top corner.

“I think Adam is special,” said Pochettino. “He’s a very unique type of player.

“He’s having very good opportunities to get into the English national side and that’s a very good thing for him.

“I am always joking around with him that he has the characteristics of a Spanish player and has the skills of an Iniesta, Xavi or Cesc Fabregas. He definitely has those skills.”

He added: “I think overall we are a team that collectively is always improving and also in an individual sense. We are seeing that every single week.

“It’s clear that for the three English players that we have here at Southampton it is very good to maintain those high standards they have shown over the season.

“It’s only going to increase their chances of going to Brazil so it’s very good for them.

“It’s very good for us as well. We keep on improving as a team and we are delighting our fans with these amazing home performances.”

The England hopefuls are beginning to make an almost irresistible case for selection for Brazil and Pochettino acknowledged that is good news for Saints.

“We work during the week to do that, to maintain our very hard standards,” he admitted.

“They are very much aware that they need to keep performing that way to increase their chances of going to Brazil.

“They are doing that already.”

When asked if he would support England in the World Cup until they play Argentina he joked: “To be completely honest I will be cheering for all of my players that are going to be present at the World Cup and I hope all of them go as far as possible.

“I would love it if one of our players was actually able to win the World Cup.”