Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino declared captain Adam Lallana is at the same level as Barcelona's Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
Lallana is in the midst of the best season of his career with the 25-year-old midfielder having scored 10 goals for Southampton in all competitions, plus he has eight assists to his name.
The silky midfielder created his team's second goal and scored the third in Southampton's 4-0 thumping of Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday and Pochettino believes Lallana is on a par with the best midfielders in the world.
"We haven't seen a player like that in this country for a long time," Pochettino said.
"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 Iniesta, Xavi or (Cesc) Fabregas."
Southampton started the second half against Newcastle 1-0 up and two pieces of brilliance from Lallana saw them stretch that lead to 3-0 by the 70th minute.
Lallana produced a sublime chip over the visiting defence for Rickie Lambert to score in the 49th minute, before the Southampton skipper blasted home from over 20 yards.
It is that combination of creativity and attacking intensity which makes Pochettino rank Lallana so highly.
"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."
|9||J. Rodriguez||45+1' 89'|
|Coach: M. Pochettino|
for S. Davis 73'
for R. Lambert 83'
for A. Lallana 90'
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