ROY Hodgson is today expected to name three Saints stars in his 23-man squad for the World Cup.
Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert and Luke Shaw will all discover today if they have been chosen by Roy Hodgson for the trip to Brazil.
Saints president Terry Paine believes all three deserve a place, while he reckons uncapped right-back Nathaniel Clyne might even have an outside chance of earning a standby position.
The club’s all-time record appearance holder says that, if he was in Hodgson’s shoes today, he would be naming a young squad that could offer some vibrancy in South America, while also gaining some valuable experience for the future.
Paine said: “At times, you have to look at the bigger picture and say ‘Where are we going to be down the road.’ “Players like Shaw, Barkley, Sterling, Lallana, Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain will be likely to represent the country for the next five or six years at least.”
Paine, right, added: “There will be very difficult playing conditions in Brazil, where stamina is going to be very important.
“The energy factor won’t do it alone, but these are young players who have been outstanding for their clubs and there’s no reason why they wouldn’t do the same for their country. That added energy will be a plus factor out there.”
Paine, part of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning squad, is confident all three of Saints’ main contenders will make it in, believes Lallana is a certainty.
“He’s had an outstanding season and he’s really caught the imagination,” he said. “He’s pretty adaptable in terms of where he can play as well – he’s not a one-position player. He’s got a lovely touch, he’s a good carrier of the ball, he can provide, and he can finish.”
Paine also believes teenage left-back Shaw’s performances this term mean he deserves his place ahead of Chelsea’s Cole on merit.
Shaw is on course to be selected after Cole last night tweeted his retirement from international football.
Speaking before Cole made the news public, Paine said: “With what Shaw has done over the season, he thoroughly deserves to be there, alongside Leighton Baines,” he said.
“I also thought we had a very good comparison between those two when Everton came to St Mary’s a few weeks ago.
“The better footballer of the two, for me, was Shaw.
“He has shown tremendous consistency this season, and what a great opportunity it would be to give him that experience of a World Cup.”
The other person who will be nervously waiting for a call from Hodgson this morning is Lambert.
Paine hopes the striker has nothing to worry about, though.
He said: “What’s the alternative? Andy Carroll?
“If what Roy Hodgson said is true, about people not being able to have an impact on his decisions purely on their form over the last few weeks, then I’m pretty convinced he’s already made up his mind.”