safc.com profiles three key men for the Saints.Jay Rodriguez
Former Burnley striker Jay Rodriguez has been in fine form at the start of the 2013-14 campaign as the Saints have established themselves as one of the top teams in the country.
Rodriguez has notched four goals in 12 appearances so this season and his partnership with Rickie Lambert is receiving widespread praise.
Born in Burnley, Rodriguez progressed through the ranks at Turf Moor to make 128 appearances for the Clarets, scoring 41 goals in that time.
He joined the Saints ahead of the 2012-13 season and scored nine goals in 37 appearances as the Hampshire-based club preserved their top-flight status.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino seems to be getting the best out of the former England U21 international and he is set to have a fine campaign at St. Mary's.
19-year-old midfielder James Ward-Prowse progressed through the youth ranks at the Saints’ academy to make his first team debut just over two years ago.
One of the many success stories to come out of Southampton’s academy in recent years, Ward Prowse is beginning to make his mark on Pochettino’s side.
So far this campaign he has made 11 appearances in all competitions with his crossing ability being widely recognised as a strong point of his game – something Sunderland fans are all too aware of as the youngster provided the delivery for Jose Fonte’s 88th minute equaliser in the meeting at St. Mary’s three months ago.
Ward-Prowse’s form for the Saints has seen Portsmouth-born youngster receive international recognition with the England under-21 side.
Skilful midfielder Adam Lallana progressed through the youth ranks at Southampton after he was snapped up as a 12-year-old from Bournemouth.
Lallana has made 221 appearances for the Saints and he scored his 50th goal for the club in a 2-0 win at Reading in April 2013.
The 24-year-old has played once for England U21’s but he is yet to feature for the full national side despite earning his first call-up in September 2012.
St Albans-born Lallana has been an essential part of the Saints’ consecutive promotions from League One through to the Barclays Premier League.
He was voted in both the League One and Championship PFA Teams of the Year in 2009-10 and 2010-11 respectively.