England manager Roy Hodgson is set to take a first-hand look at Luke Shaw today, as he considers handing him a senior international debut next week.
Hodgson is due to be at St Mary’s for the visit of Liverpool, where he will have the opportunity to watch Shaw one last time before the 18-year-old links up with England.
The game will also provide the national team boss with a chance to further assess the form of Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez – the other three Saints stars he has included in his squad for next Wednesday’s friendly, against Denmark, at Wembley.
Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino believes that the number of players selected from the club has further enhanced its reputation.
“Southampton have four players in the English national team, and that’s something, of course, that’s a massive boost for this club,” he said.
“It also enhances the prestige of this club, so it’s a very important thing.” Pochettino, who joked that there might not be anything to do at Saints’ training ground next week with so many people away, added that the huge amount of international recognition is testament to the club’s ability to develop and improve players.
“It’s very motivating for Southampton as a football club,” he said.
“I think we have nearly 17 players that have been called up during the international break next week.
“Players in the under-17s, under-18s, under-19s, under-21s, and the senior side as well, so I’m pretty sure that next week Southampton’s going to be away on holiday. We’re not going to be doing much next week.
“It just shows that Southampton has the capacity to create new players and especially for English young talented players that can go on to play in the different ranks of the English national side.”
Wednesday’s fixture represents the last game before Hodgson names his provisional squad for this summer’s World Cup.
With that in mind, Pochettino believes all four of his England players have a real opportunity to make it to Brazil.
“It’s clear that for any player it’s a massive boost to get called up to the English national side – to any national side – especially looking at the fact that there’s such a short time before the World Cup, which is really soon,” he said.
“It’s a great opportunity for them and it gives them a great chance to actually be on that plane to Brazil.”
For 32-year-old striker Lambert, this is probably his one and only opportunity to make a World Cup, which perhaps puts extra pressure on his shoulders in the coming weeks.
But Pochettino says that Lallana, 25, and Rodriguez, 24, will be taking nothing for granted about the future and will be viewing it the same way.
“I think the feeling that you say, that this is your one and only chance, is experienced by the three of them, not just Rickie,” he said.
“I think with Jay, with Adam, and Rickie, they experience that same opportunity with the same intensity.
“Perhaps in a personal sense they experience it in a different way, which is a personal reaction, and they’ll keep that to themselves.
“But it’s clearly a great opportunity for the three of them.
“Now we have even the four of them, with Luke Shaw also called up, and I think, overall, it’s a massive chance for the four of them.”