Liverpool's Joel Matip comments on his footballing heroes growing up

Southampton's Charlie Austin in action with Liverpool's Joel Matip

Matip has been in fine form since his arrival at Anfield from Schalke in the summer.

Southampton's Jay Rodriguez in action with Liverpool's Joel Matip and Nathaniel Clyne

Liverpool defender Joel Matip has been discussing his footballing heroes, among other things, in a wide ranging interview in the Liverpool Echo.

Matip commented on settling in quickly at the club, as well as not hearing of Reds legend Alan Hansen, although he has been compared to him on several occasions. 

But he did say that he modelled himself on two French World Cup winners who played in midfield when in the playground as a youngster.

He told the Liverpool Echo: “When I was really young my heroes were Zinedine Zidane and Patrick Vieira. That’s who I wanted to be in the playground."

Although he plays a different position, one can probably see how he might model himself on Vieira in terms of his stature and his build.

There is also the way he is so calm and thoughtful on the ball, like the former Arsenal captain was during his playing days. Matip would love to go on and have a career half as successful as the two Frenchmen. 

Southampton's Sofiane Boufal in action with Liverpool's Joel Matip and Jordan Henderson

Matip also cited that he wanted to emulate his brother Marvin - who is captain of Ingolstadt - saying little brothers always wanted to what their older brothers were doing.

The defender has made an impressive start to life at Anfield, and it is noticeable how much tighter the Reds' defence is, even though they have kept just two clean sheets so far this season.

Matip seems to have formed an effective partnership alongside Dejan Lovren, and contributed to a settled back line which the Reds will hope can become more and more effective as the season goes on. 

Southampton's Charlie Austin in action with Liverpool's Joel Matip

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