Manchester United manager David Moyes feels his pre-season assessment of Wayne Rooney has been vindicated by the striker's impressive recent form.
Rooney found the net in England's World Cup wins over Montenegro and Poland over the past week to guide Roy Hodgson's men into the World Cup finals.
It follows on from his outstanding efforts for United with Rooney, 28 on October 28, having scored five times in his last six games.
''I saw him like this on the first day of pre-season yet I had to keep telling everyone that was the case because the media thought it was different,'' said Moyes.
''I saw him in great form. He was in great fettle. His training was fantastic from day one.
''But people kept saying different things and I found it difficult to prove it different.
''You can see by his form and the goals he is scoring that what I was saying was right.''
As Moyes acknowledged, Rooney is now approaching a point in his career when he is expected to handle more responsibility.
And he is pleased to note the former Everton star is doing exactly that.
''He is at an age where he would be one of the main players,'' said Moyes. ''He is certainly a main player for Manchester United and he is one of the main players for England. That is what we expected.
''He takes the responsibility, scores the goals when it is required. He has done that from a young age.
''But the age he is at now he has that maturity which shows in how he plays, the condition he is in and the way he is playing for both club and country.''
Rooney is virtually certain to start against Southampton at Old Trafford on Saturday.
The big question is whether Adnan Januzaj will too. It was the 18-year-old's two goals that turned potential defeat at Sunderland into victory on United's last outing a fortnight ago.
Yet, as Moyes pointed out, Januzaj cannot expect to be involved every week.
''I don't think anybody plays every week for Manchester United,'' he said. ''We have enough players to rotate the squad.
''Adnan is 18, does anyone expect him to play every week? Is he good enough? The answer is yes.''
The only player who has started every game for United this season is goalkeeper David de Gea.
Amazingly, De Gea is not regarded as one of Spain's top three keepers despite earning selection for last term's Premier League team of the year.
However, Moyes has no doubt the former Atletico Madrid man will go on to become one of the world's very best.
''David had to come in and prove himself at Manchester United,'' said Moyes.
''Sir Alex bought him young and played him, at times when it was difficult because goalkeeper and centre-half are probably the two hardest positions to put out on the pitch for young players.
''Manchester United doing that over the last couple of years has shown what you can get.
''He is a top goalkeeper. He will go on in time to be one of the best there is. I have no doubts about that.''
Moyes will assess the fitness of his international stars before settling on his line-up against Southampton.
Tom Cleverley is likely to miss out after picking up a calf injury prior to England's victory over Montenegro.
United may be having some teething problems but Steven Davis believes a trip to Old Trafford remains the biggest test in the Premier League.
Life after Sir Alex Ferguson was never going to be straightforward for United, and so it is proving.
Moyes' side have endured an indifferent start to the campaign and lie ninth in the table, five points adrift of Saints.
Mauricio Pochettino's side impressed in defeat at Old Trafford last season and are now looking to condemn United to back-to-back home defeats in the league for the first time since 2002.
Saints are on a run of four successive wins in all competitions and, while confident of getting a result in the north west, Davis rejects the notion that United are on the wane.
''For us, I think it is a game to look forward to,'' he said. ''I am sure Man United won't take us lightly after the start we've made.
''These are stadiums you want to play at and players you want to test yourself against.
''I think it is the biggest test. Every Premier League game is a test because you're coming up against top players, but I think coming up against Man United, obviously being champions, is a game we can look forward to.
''The defence has been the platform for our success so far. The last couple of games we've managed to score a couple of goals as well.
''Last year we went up to Old Trafford and came away feeling disappointed not to get a result.
''We played some really good stuff, especially in the second half, and we can take confidence from that and hopefully put in a similar performance and get a better result.
''We can go there, try to play the way we can, and if we do then we are more than capable of getting a result.'
Artur Boruc and Luke Shaw are both in contention for Southampton.
Pochettino expects Boruc to start again in goal, despite the Poland team physio claiming he suffered a hamstring injury during the international break.
Shaw was unable to link up with the England Under-21s due to illness but is also in contention, while Gaston Ramirez will be assessed after arriving back from international duty with Uruguay late on Thursday.