Adam Lallana has hit out at false claims that he refused to play for Southampton in order to force a move through to Liverpool.
Lallana spent 14 years at the south coast club and played a key role in the club’s rise from League One doldrums back to the top-flight.
The 26-year-old captained the side to an eighth-placed Barclays Premier League finish last season, with those fine performances seeing him make a £25m move to Liverpool.
He is aware, though, that the move has left a sour taste with supporters of the club he was with since 2000.
LIVE ON SSN HQ
Roy Hodgson and Wayne Rooney will be live on Sky Sports News HQ on Wednesday afternoon as England prepare to face San Marino. Watch the press conference from 4.30pm.
"I never, ever wanted anything to get messy, if that's what happened," said England international Lallana.
"I don't look a lot into it or read a lot into it. I always wanted to leave on a good note and I'll always have special memories of the fans, the players and the people involved in the club.
"It is great to see them doing so well this season. People said they'd find it difficult this season, but they've recruited well, brought in great players and a good manager."
Lallana is not only pleased to see Saints flying high but to have a chance to set the record straight.
I just felt at the age I was at in my career and with Mauricio (Pochettino) leaving as well, it was (the) right time for me to test myself. It was a great opportunity.
The unusual move to thank fans with a full-page advert in the local newspaper was overshadowed by suggestions he refused to play for Southampton again - accusations he describes as "completely false".
"I didn't say I'd never play for the club again," Lallana said. "Once I knew of Liverpool's interest, I asked the club if they could come to an agreement and that it would be my wish to leave and join Liverpool. I make no secret of that, I'm an ambitious person.
"I just felt at the age I was at in my career and with Mauricio (Pochettino) leaving as well, it was (the) right time for me to test myself. It was a great opportunity.
"It's sad and I am disappointed that certain fans feel like that, but I can kind of understand why. They love Southampton, they are Southampton fans.
"I will always love Southampton. I had a great time down there. It's just one of those things."