Southampton defender Toby Alderweireld has underlined his importance to the team.
Speaking ahead of the Premier League clash against Aston Villa at Villa Park on Monday, the Belgium international explained what he can bring to Ronald Koeman’s side.
“I’m four times a champion – three times in Holland, one in Spain, I've played in a final of the Champions League, and a World Cup quarter-final, so I want to bring it to the other guys,” he told the Saints’ official website.
“Not to say ‘do this’ but just talk about football and my opinion about it. That’s the way I want to play, because of Holland, I was 19 and you can play a lot.
“That’s the positive side of Holland. Then, in Madrid, it’s hard, it’s really professional, it’s more men football and I really learned to defend good. So, with the football from Ajax and the defending from Atletico, it was the right step.”
Many would feel that Alderweireld is ‘full of himself’, but his comments about what he can bring to the table should be taken seriously.
During his time at Ajax, the 25-year-old was rated as one of the best defenders in the Eredivisie, cultivating the versatility to play as a centre-back and as a right-back.
Last season Alderweireld struggled for playing time at Atletico Madrid, but he still proved important to Diego Simeone’s team.
Having joined Southampton on a season-long loan deal from the Spanish champions in the summer transfer window, the Belgian has started to show the form he exhibited at Ajax.
A cultured passer of the ball - he has a pass accuracy of 80% in the Premier League so far this season - Alderweireld has the experience that many of the players in the Southampton squad do not.
The defender knows his place in the team and knows that Ronald Koeman is the boss, but the fact that he is opinionated shows that he can be a leader in the dressing room.