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Puel insists Fonte focused on Southampton

Southampton boss Claude Puel is confident captain Jose Fonte’s head has not been turned by rumours of a move away from St Mary’s prior to the start of the season.

The Portugal international impressed as his country won their first major honour at Euro 2016, and Manchester United, with compatriot Jose Mourinho in charge, were heavily linked to the 32-year-old.

However, Puel has now stated that, after discussions with the board, defender Fonte is ready to remain an important player for Southampton.

“I think the situation with Jose is normal,” he said ahead of the Saints’ game against Sunderland on Saturday. “Now Jose is concentrated always on his football and on his team.

“It was important for the club and for me to keep him in the squad, because he has a good personality, he is a good professional and a leader.

“Before the season it is normal to have some different thoughts, but now he is okay. 

“It was important to listen to Jose and understand his position. We had time to speak and time to play. Now it’s time to play and there is no problem with this.”

Puel also added that the club have not yet decided on Jay Rodriguez’s immediate future, with loan moves to Hull City and West Brom mooted.

“For Jay, we will see in the next days,” he said. “I think he’s a very good player. I like him, I like his game.

“With Jay the question is to know whether it would be better to play with regularity in another team, or as a substitute, for example, with us.

“It’s a discussion [we need to have with] with the player, to get the right result for the player and for Southampton. For the moment, I’m happy with Jay.”

Thu 25 Aug, 2016
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