Adam Lallana has revealed he watched a young Jermain Defoe make his breakthrough on loan at Bournemouth, and said the striker has shown age to be no barrier.
Defoe lined up in front of Lallana as England secured a relatively straight forward 2-0 win over Lithuania.
Lallana has become a key part of Gareth Southgate's England side, as well as a star performer for Liverpool, but he admits playing alongside a childhood hero was a surreal experience.
He said: “My dad used to take me to watch Bournemouth play when he famously scored for 10 games in a row, so to be playing with him for England is quite surreal at times.
“But it's the Jermain Defoe of old that you always know, and you bet your bottom dollar he's going to score a goal and he did to get us on the way.”
Lallana teed up Jamie Vardy for England's second goal of the afternoon following Defoe's substituion, but the 34-year-old showed his potential worth and the Liverpool midfielder echoed Southgate's claim that he can be a realistic option for next summer's World Cup.
England are well on course to qualify, four points clear at the top of their group and still yet to concede a goal in qualifying.
Lallana said there were no signs of ageing in the poacher and insisted he is playing like a man ten years younger.
He said: “He deserves it because he's been playing some of the best football of his career this season, scoring goals.
“I think he's here on merit and he's proved what he's about, what he can bring and what an option he is for Russia in a year's time.
“It still feels like you're playing with a 25-year-old Jermain Defoe.”