Is Lallana as good as Iniesta or Xavi?

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino believes the midfielder is as effective as the dynamic duo.

Following his side’s 4-0 victory over Newcastle United in the Premier League on Saturday, Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino made a big comment.

The 42-year-old Argentine claimed that that Adam Lallana has “the skills of an Iniesta, Xavi or Cesc Fabregas”, adding that the England international is “unique”.

"Lately he has had a number of opportunities to get into the England national side so that is a very good thing for him," said Pochettino.

"I am always telling him that he has the characteristics of a Spanish player and he has the skills of an Iniesta, Xavi or Cesc Fabregas. Adam is special. He is a very unique player."

Really? So a player who has been featuring in the Premier League for less than two years and who made his international debut only in November 2013 is as good as two of the greatest footballers of all time, aka Andres Iniesta and Xavi?

Moreover, Lallana is 25 years of age, so it’s not that he has not been around for a while for the big clubs with their huge scouting network not to take notice of him.

True, Lallana has racked up over 200 appearances for Southampton since making his first-team debut in 2006 and has been one of the best players in the Premier League this campaign, but comparing him to footballers like Iniesta, Xavi or even Fabregas is stretching it a bit too far.

Pochettino is bigging up his player, of course, and trying to make England manager Roy Hodgson take more notice of the midfielder and include him in his 23-man squad for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil in the summer.

The Saints boss, though, does have a point when he says that Lallana has the “characteristics” of a Spanish player.

Lallana is a technically gifted, two-footed and intelligent footballer who makes his decision wisely and quickly in the middle of the park and is very comfortable on the ball.

However, just because someone has played well for two years does not mean that he can be compared to genuinely great footballers or is even world class.

Remember Andy Carroll, anyone?

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