Andrew Davies has urged England to put their World Cup faith in his old team-mate Adam Lallana.
The City defender feels Lallana offers something different to Roy Hodgson’s squad in Brazil.
Lallana could miss out on a starting spot for England’s group opener against Italy in Manaus on Saturday night but Davies is convinced he can plant his imprint on the biggest stage if given the opportunity to shine.
Davies spent a season at Southampton earlier in his career when Lallana was just breaking through. Even then, he was struck by the youngster’s precocious talent.
Having watched his progress closely since, he believes the midfielder should be an influential figure in Hodgson’s thinking.
Davies said: “Adam can produce anything, left footed, right footed, assists – he can do the lot and will only keep improving.
“He’s always been a confident lad and we can play things through him. I’m sure he will do very well.”
Lallana was on loan at Bournemouth when Davies joined the Saints from Middlesbrough for £1m in October 2007.
Davies went on to win the club’s player of the year prize that season but the pair only shared a pitch twice. But he saw enough at close quarters on the training pitch.
Davies said: “Adam was out on loan at Bournemouth when I first went there. But he came back in and you could see his talent straight away at training.
“I remember watching this kid thinking ‘why send him on loan somewhere, he should be playing’. He just had unbelievable ability.
“It’s always surprising when you see someone you’ve played with go on to the England team. I’ve been team-mates of Stewie Downing and Jonathan Woodgate who’ve done that but you don’t expect it.
“I knew Adam was going to be a very good player and have a decent career but to have the chance to play for England now in the World Cup is amazing.
“But he deserves everything and I’m sure it will go really well for him because he’s a confident lad.”
Lallana is expected to quit Southampton this summer for one of the Premier League’s brighter lights. Liverpool and Tottenham have been strongly linked with him.
Davies added: “He’s ready for the next step. He needs to go to a bigger club and be alongside better players who’s movement will be that much sharper.
“Where he ends up? I don’t know but he won’t be short of takers. He deserves all the success heading his way.
“His price tag will be sky high if he has a good World Cup.”