Schneiderlin happy to impress
Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin is enjoying proving doubters like former manager Alan Pardew wrong.
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28. Morgan Schneiderlin
The 23-year-old is one of Saints' longest serving players and has made 185 appearances for the club since joining from Strasbourg in 2008
Schneiderlin suffered relegation in his first season but then played an integral part in Southampton's rise from League One to the top flight, where this season he has attracted plaudits from fans, pundits and statisticians.
The Frenchman has made more interceptions than any player in the top five European leagues and covered more ground on average than any Premier League player.
Schneiderlin has also made a league high 102 tackles - a statistic that proves a point to former manager Pardew.
"You know I don't want to pick anyone from all the time I had here at Southampton because every manager I had brought me something," he said when asked about the Newcastle manager's influence.
"It would not be fair to bring, for example, Alan Pardew to say he is the one or something.
"When I first came he was saying to me I never tackled and I wanted to prove him wrong.
"I don't want to pick anyone so I just say all managers have brought me something from when I was five years old. I am very grateful to anyone.
"I am not paying too much attention to the stats. For me, the most important thing is to win tackles and help my team. That is it.
"How many tackles I did in a game is not really my ambition when I go on the pitch, but if I can prove people wrong who doubted me I am very happy."
Schneiderlin has been a beacon of strength in the Southampton midfield, starting all but one of their Premier League matches this campaign.
That importance to the cause was recognised this week when they club tied him down to a new long-term deal, keeping him at St Mary's until 2017.
"When you are in a club and you see it is growing and that everything is in place to be a big part of the Premier League, there is no reason why you need to leave," Schneiderlin said.
"I played almost every game for Southampton. I have the feeling that the chairman and the manager most importantly want me in this club.
"For me, it was not really a hard choice. I feel very good in Southampton and I enjoy myself every weekend.
"I know that I need to improve in some things still and I am sure Southampton is the best place to do so.
"Okay, you can go to another club but the grass is not greener anywhere else I don't think.
"Southampton has new ambitions. We are going to have a new training ground, a new coaching staff, a new philosophy of how to play football so I just enjoyed being part of that. That is why I committed my future."
The future might look bright for Saints but their immediate attention is on tomorrow's clash with bottom-placed QPR as they look to move away from the drop zone.
"This game is massive," Schneiderlin added.
"QPR will come to us because they are playing for their lives, but we are too.
"We want to survive in this league, and we want to put QPR in more trouble, that's our job, and that's what we want to do.
"They do have a lot to lose in terms of their Premier League position, but they are a good team and I'm sure they will come at us, but it's no problem if we play our game.
"We're ready for it, to win this game."