Paine, who celebrated his 80th birthday on Saturday, has been happy to see the midfielder rewarded for his outstanding recent club form.
He told the Daily Echo: “Having been in and out of the [Saints] side under so many different managers my biggest concern with James was that there was no identity for him.
“Apart from at dead-ball situations I couldn't make up my mind what he was and I don't think the boy knew either.
“But since he's come back into that forward role I can see that's his strength, that's where he needs to play.
“He'll always be a threat from free kicks in and around the box but now you can see he has more of a role within the team. And that's what's shone through.
“He's always had that talent from dead ball situations and now he's so consistent, which is rare. To score two on the trot was exceptional."