NATHAN Dyer was confident Adam Lallana would play for England a decade ago – and reckons his former Saints academy teammate is a World Cup cert.
Saints have come a long way since Dyer’s cut-price £400,000 move Swansea City five years ago, when the club were in administration and preparing to begin life in League One with minus ten points.
But Dyer, 26, has been an admirer of Lallana’s talent for several years now. They were part of the same Saints youth team that reached the FA Youth Cup final in 2005.
And Dyer is in no doubt that Lallana, who turns 26 on Saturday, will receive the perfect birthday present by being included in Roy Hodgson’s 23-man squad next week. “I’m very pleased for Adam, he’s proved that he can play at that level, but I’m not surprised,” said the Swansea winger, who scored against Saints on his return to St Mary's last season. “I don’t think there are many two-footed players like him in the Premiership and that’s a great talent to have.
“He’s literally been like that since I was in the youth team with him, and he’s grown up and matured. “Our youth team was packed with talent and [former academy coach] Georges Prost was amazing for us; he showed us how to play the right way.
“Adam’s been like that all season. I’m so happy for him and that he’ll get a chance for England, he’s a great guy.” Dyer came on soon after Lallana, right, was replaced by Rickie Lambert, whose bizarre late winner ensured Saints left the Liberty Stadium having secured their highest Premier League points tally since taking 54 from 42 games in 1994-95.
“I know some people say we don’t look to the history but we knew about it for a long time and we were desperate to break it because we know that it’s a big achievement,” said Lambert. “To have achieved what we have over the past four years and then to progress to where we are now tops off everything – it’s been superb. “It’s full credit to everyone from top to the bottom. It’s been a pleasure to play alongside everyone.”