SOUTHAMPTON legend Claus Lundekvam believes his old club would be fighting for a Champions League spot had they kept hold of their ‘dream team’ stars.
Instead, his beloved Saints will be up against three of their former players in Adam Lallana, Nathaniel Clyne and Dejan Lovren at Liverpool on Sunday.
Lundekvam was winding down his 12 years at Southampton, where he made 357 appearances, when Lallana, Gareth Bale and Theo Walcott burst on to the scene.
Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain, Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers were the next crop of super-kids who flourished before being sold on.
And former Norway defender Lundekvam, 44, told SunSport: “What a dream team we’d have now had we not sold all those great players.
“Imagine had we been going to Liverpool with Luke Shaw, Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Adam Lallana and Calum Chambers in our team on top of the players we have now.
“We would probably be in the Champions League.
“I’d have liked to see some of them stay for a few years longer but Southampton couldn’t afford to not sell them.
“Money rules and money talks — and loyalty in football is fading away.”
Lundekvam reckons Saints have produced so many great players because they ensure their youngsters never get too big for their boots.
He said: “You need to keep them humble and down to earth.
“A lot of players today get it too easy, too quickly.
“They change attitude as soon as they sign their first contract and get too much money early on. Southampton develop players slowly, steadily and cautiously.
“They get to learn about dressing-room etiquette, having respect for the older professionals, the system around you.
“Bale, Walcott and Lallana all wanted to become as good as they possibly could and we didn’t allow them to be cocky — and that is very important.
“They all had that attitude to prove themselves and that is why they’ve made massive names for themselves.”