Rickie Lambert has revealed the thought behind his penalty-taking technique in a new book.
The Saints striker has converted a perfect 34 of 34 attempts from the spot since joining the club in August 2009.
His last miss from 12 yards came for his previous club, Bristol Rovers, in February of that year.
Lambert, who is part of England’s World Cup squad, has spoken of his penalty approach in Ben Lyttleton’s Twelve Yards: The Art and Psychology of the Perfect Penalty, which is available from tomorrow.
He said: “I see a penalty as a free shot from ten yards and a professional should score from that distance 10 times out of 10, so if you hit it well you’ll be alright.”
Lambert added: “When I put the ball down, I walk backwards and take a set number of strides to get to my mark. If you turn round after spotting the ball it shows nerves.
“Maybe it means the taker doesn’t want eye contact with the goalkeeper in case he plays mind games.
“As a taker you don’t want to make it easy for them.
“I try and hit the penalty as if I know the goalkeeper is going that way as well and even if he does he still won’t be able to save it.”
Lambert knows he might be called upon at some point this summer to try and help England improve on their dreadful penalty record in major tournaments, and he admits the prospect of missing for your country is more frightening than for your club.
“With your club you can probably rectify the mistake very quickly but with your country you might not get another chance and there is no manual about how you will feel if you miss,” he said.
“I imagine it would affect you much more emotionally.”