Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino says that captain Adam Lallana deserves to be mentioned on the same level as Barcelona stars Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Cesc Fabregas after yet another outstanding display against Newcastle.
• Rann: Saints maul the Magpies
Lallana, 25, helped himself to a goal and an assist as the Saints ran the Magpies ragged at St Mary’s on Saturday, with the midfielder’s 25-yard strike sending the hosts on their way to a 4-0 win.
The England international now has 10 goals and eight assists in the Premier League this season, and his manager believes there is no other player like him in the country.
"We haven't seen a player like that in this country for a long time," Pochettino told reporters.
"Lately he has had a number of opportunities to get into the England national side so that is a very good thing for him.
"I am always telling him that he has the characteristics of a Spanish player and he has the skills of an [Andres] Iniesta, Xavi or [Cesc] Fabregas."
Lallana's impressive performances for the Saints have made a place in Roy Hodgson's England squad for this summer's World Cup a distinct possibility, and Pochettino says his technique sets him apart from the rest.
"Adam is special, he is a very unique player," the 42-year-old Argentine said. "There is not another player in the country like him."
Pochettino declared himself delighted with the performance against the Magpies, stating: "We had an amazing performance and not just the final result but the way that we played was outstanding."
Southampton now sit eighth in the Premier League table after Saturday's win, six points off seventh-placed Manchester United.