Southampton flying high in the Premier League thanks to this man
It isn’t often you see a Champions League winner in the red and white stripes of Southampton. Granted, plenty have graced the St Mary’s stadium with their presence over the years, however it is very rare you find one agreeing to move willingly to the south coast.
This is a different Saints team these days, though. Ronald Koeman has made it so. Currently second in the Premier League, they are 9/2 to record a top four finish. In Ryan Bertrand, they perhaps don’t have a glamorous name; a so-called superstar. However, the 25-year-old left back has played at the highest level; man-marking Arjen Robben in the Champions League final, carrying out a near hit-man job on the Dutch winger, suffocating him in possession.
The Chelsea player has been part of an impressive Southampton rearguard so far this term, that has conceded the lowest amount of goals in the Premier League; four less than his parent club, who currently sit top by as many points.
When Luke Shaw was sold in the summer, many were at panic stations. Koeman’s calmness enabled him to identify Southwark-born Bertrand and inquire about his availability. As he did in his efforts to compensate for the mass exodus of personnel that left the club.
Saints fans will be pleased to hear that Bertrand is open to making his move to the south coast permanent and keep participating in Koeman’s project.
“It is one of those things where I’ve got to wait and see but, for me, there’s no reason why not,” Bertrand said.
“There is a good base to the club, we’re pulling in the right direction. We have fantastic fans, fantastic players, a fantastic manager and coaching staff,” he continued.
“It has been a good experience for me so far, so I don’t see why not.”
Elaborating about his experience at the Saints, he went on to say: “I am pleased with the way it has started but you know there is a lot more work to be done.
“As a team we’re only going to get better, individually I am only going to improve.”
Bertrand is the only player in the squad with a Champions League winners medal, however he is grounded enough not to let that inflate his ego. Even manager Koeman didn’t win the competition, though the Dutchman did achieve European Cup victories, as it was when he won it in 1987/88 with PSV and in 1991/92 with Barcelona as a player.
England international Bertrand for now, is just taking it one game at a time and, with the Saints through to the last eight of the Capital One Cup, he has a serious chance of adding to his medals, with Southampton 9/2 third favourites to win the competition.