Saints skipper Adam Lallana played 73 minutes of England’s 3-0 win over Peru at Wembley Stadium on Friday night.
Lallana, who in two previous starts with the national side had not been on the winning side, was able to break that record by helping the hosts to a deserved success over the South Americans in north London.
In what was the Three Lions’ last match on English soil before heading over to America on Sunday, Roy Hodgson’s men signed off with a victory in front of a packed home crowd full of well-wishers to the team preparing for World Cup duty.
The game itself created a little slice of history, with Peru playing their first ever game on English soil, in a contest that Saints were represented by two players as both Lallana and Rickie Lambert were named in the matchday squad.
Whilst Lambert remained on the bench, Lallana started the game, lining up in the familiar number 20 shirt which he also wears for Saints. The Southampton skipper made his fourth appearance for the senior national side where he was deployed on the right side of a three man midfield also consisting of Liverpool duo Jordan Henderson and skipper Steven Gerrard. That trio supported a fluid front three of Daniel Sturridge, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck in attack.
In an otherwise relatively quiet opening to the game, Lallana showed some of the drive that has seen him break into contention for a starting berth in Brazil as he made his presence felt from the start. His burst forward into the Peru area on 19 minutes saw the ball arrive into Sturridge’s path, and the striker lashed the hosts’ first real shot of the game narrowly wide of the far post.
Lallana also showed his defensive side of the game to support Liverpool full-back Glen Johnson on the right flank, where England posed many of their initial questions to their opponents.
After a fairly even start to the game, England broke the deadlock on 32 minutes when Glen Johnson’s throw-in from the right touchline was collected by Sturridge, who curled a wonderful high shot into the top left corner to bring the Wembley crowd to its feet for the first time in the match.
Moments after the opening goal, Lallana was involved once more, as he laid the ball into the path of Wayne Rooney, but the ball didn’t break back cleanly for the Manchester United frontman, whose deflected strike went out for a corner.
Peru’s best chance of the first half arrived at the end of it when Luis Ramirez broke one-on-one with Joe Hart, but the Manchester City goalkeeper spared the hosts’ blushes by making a good low save down to his left.
An even start to the second period was ended on 65 minutes when Hodsgon’s side doubled their lead. A Leighton Baines corner from the left was met by the powerful header from Gary Cahill, who found the left corner of the net for some breathing space.
That strike came either side of Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney’s departures from the field, as Lallana was joined by Raheem Sterling and Jack Wilshere in the middle of the park.
A third goal soon followed from the same routine as the second. Another corner from Baines, this time on the right, was spilled by Peru goalkeeper Raul Fernandez, and Phil Jagielka was there to turn the ball home.
Lallana then departed the action to a decent ovation from the 83,578 supporters inside the stadium, with his appearance the only one from a Saints player in the game, as Lambert kept his feet up for the evening on the bench.
Saints’ other England representative Luke Shaw was the only one of the 23 man squad not to be involved on the night, with manager Roy Hodgson citing that the youngster had been suffering from a head cold during the week, which prevented him from making his second appearance for the senior side.
The next step for England is Sunday’s flight out to Miami, where the preparations will intensify for this summer’s World Cup, which gets underway in 12 days’ time.
The Three Lions will face Ecuador on Wednesday and Honduras the following Saturday, before heading out to Rio 24 hours later.
England: Joe Hart, Glen Johnson, Phil Jagielka (Chris Smalling 73), Gary Cahill, Leighton Baines (John Stones 75), Steven Gerrard (c) (Jack Wilshere 64), Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana (James Milner 73), Wayne Rooney (Raheem Sterling 66), Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge (Ross Barkley 82)
Unused substitutes: Ben Foster, Fraser Forster, Frank Lampard, Rickie Lambert, Jon Flanagan
Goals: Sturridge, 32; Cahill, 65; Jagielka, 70