Oriol Romeu has quietly gone about his business in the past year, but on Saturday, he certainly earned the praise of several Southampton supporters.
The Spaniard turned in a robust performance against Liverpool and stood out in the middle of the park before he was substituted, having picked up an unjust yellow card in the first half.
Romeu operated alongside James Ward-Prowse and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in midfield and was arguably Southampton’s best player, breaking up Liverpool’s attacks and distributing the ball quickly.
He has had his fair share of critics in recent times, but Romeu’s display against the European champions got people talking. Plenty of Saints fans took to Twitter to hail the 27-year-old’s display…
Twitter: Baffles me how some of our fans still don’t rate Romeu #saintsfc (@wales_freddie)
Twitter: Romeu is playing a blinder today. Good to see! #saintsfc (@TheBarhoe)
Twitter: People who don’t want Romeu in the team are deluded #saintsfc (@rhysgorry)
Twitter: Hey Djenepo looked good today! Maybe we have found a new Mané!! We did alright today but we should have gone for… https://t.co/jFMEdgi7Ur (@bfgfox)
Twitter: I’m often his biggest critic, but I thought Romeu was excellent yesterday, and didn’t let one of the most ridiculou… https://t.co/MQmU47sgbK (@crstig)
Twitter: At least the Romeu doubters can quiet down for a bit. With Bertrand our most consistent performer of the post Koeman era. #saintsfc (@Matt_le_Moss)
Read Southampton’s verdict
I echo the above thoughts. Romeu was outstanding against Liverpool, and it was a real shame to see a refereeing mishap limit his influence as the game progressed.
He had a good first half at Burnley before being completely bypassed after the break, but he was consistently influential on Saturday and provided the back five with a shield for swathes of the match.
Romeu has all the tools to be a crucial player for Ralph Hasenhuttl this season, and he’ll be battling against Ward-Prowse for a guaranteed starting spot alongside Hojbjerg in the middle of the pitch.
If he can replicate the same level of quality that he displayed against Liverpool, he’ll have no problems being one of the first names on the team sheet.