Whilst Ronald Koeman was the man who brought Elia to St Mary’s Stadium, the Dutch international has told De Telegraaf that it is another member of the Saints backroom staff who has been a key factor in his immediate impact.
Having signed on loan until the end of the season, the 27-year-old has impressed in his two Premier League outings to date.
Starting the 1-0 victory over Manchester United, Elia’s debut came to an end when he was substituted in place of Dusan Tadic, who went on to score the winner. He then followed up that performance with a brace at Newcastle United, which gifted the Saints the victory and moved them close to Manchester City in second place in the league table.
The winger has already shown the kind of performances that will have Southampton taking advantage of their option to buy clause in the summer, but Elia himself does not believe that his good form has been all down to him. Speaking to De Telegraaf following his first Saints goals, the former Werder Bremen, Hamburg and FC Twente star has praised the work of Erwin Koeman, who currently works alongside his brother Ronald as assistant manager at St Mary’s.
Elia revealed that the 53-year-old stays after training to help him recover his best form, and had words of praise for the former Dutch international.
He said: “Erwin goes daily after training with me to work, so my confidence is increasing.”
Considering how impressive Southampton have been the season, the praise of Ronald Koeman has been well deserved. However, it is good to see Elia thanking the members of staff who stay behind-the-scenes, especially when they have played such a key role in the break out performances of a new star on the South Coast.