"He's been outstanding!" - Southampton hero praises unheralded defender

Former Southampton centre back Claus Lundekvam has praised Jose Fonte.

With seven wins from the first ten games of the season, Southampton have made a blistering start to life under new manager Ronald Koeman.

The former Feyenoord boss arrived this summer following the departure of Mauricio Pochettino to Tottenham, but has already shown that he may even be set to take the team even further than the Argentine could.

Saturday's 1-0 win away at Hull City means that the Saints sit second, just four points behind league leaders Chelsea. New attacking signings such as Dusan Tadic and Graziano Pelle have impressed, but it's at the back where Southampton are earning plaudits.

With just five goals conceded in ten games, the Saints have by far the meanest defence in the Premier League, keeping six clean sheets already this season.

The leader of that defence is Jose Fonte - who has come up with Southampton from League One to the Championship and now to the top of the Premier League.

The 30-year-old remains one of the most underrated centre backs in the top flight, and his superb performances on the South Coast have earned him his first ever call-up to the Portugal national team.

Without his leadership, you have to doubt whether Southampton's defence would have been quite so impressive this season, and former Saints defender Claus Lundekvam has been impressed.

Lundekvam, a centre back himself in his playing days, spent 12 years at Southampton, making over 350 appearances and becoming a cult hero in the process - and he says that Fonte has been a superb captain for Koeman's men.

"Fonte has been outstanding," Lundekvam told the Daily Echo. "When Lovren left there was a lot of worry over the defence and how much more was expected of Fonte. But he’s done amazingly well and has grown as a player."

"He’s a lot more secure and with that captain’s armband on, he is a very impressive leader of the team," added the Norwegian. "Fonte was one of the players that people thought might struggle, but I always believed in him. And he believed in himself, he’s dealing impressively with the responsibility on his shoulders as the captain."

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