Morgan Schneiderlin joined Southampton in 2008, rejecting offers from Portsmouth, Arsenal and Chelsea, and was initially criticised for his lack of physicality.
However, he now finds himself as one of the most prominent and upcoming players in the Premier League. He has become a fan favourite recently, winning the Players' and the Fans' Player of the Season Award, racking in a whopping 68.6% of the vote.
But what has he done to deserve the praise coming his way from pundits and fans alike?
His rise to prominence stemmed under the watchful eye of the then manager Nigel Adkins, who saw great potential in Schneiderlin and encouraged him to show his class. Consequently, he started 42 games in the Championship last season, becoming an integral member of the team that won promotion to the Premier League.
This was just the beginning for Schneiderlin who has really settled into life in the Premier League and also life under Mauricio Pochettino, as he has been the rock on which the recent resurgence of Southampton has stood.
Primarily a defensive midfielder, Schneiderlin has the best tackle per game ratio this season in the league, 119 in 28 games and also high numbers of interceptions, 107, and has won back possession an impressive 193 times this term.
But what is truly incredible about this player is that his range of passing is among the best in the league. He manages a pass a minute and of his 1470 passes, 1224 have been successful - a whopping 83.27%.
If this is not enough to entice potential suitors, then they should take a look at his passes in attacking areas where he has completed 77%, which equates to 652 of 852 passes in total. Schneiderlin has a 70% pass completion rate in the final third of the pitch.
In possession, the uncapped French midfielder does what is expected from a top flight defensive midfielder as, when calculated, Schneiderlin wins back possession every 13 minutes with 47 accounts coming from the defensive third, 135 in the middle third and 11 won in the attacking third. These statistics are superior to those of Jack Wilshere, Tom Cleverley and Gareth Barry.
Schneiderlin can also chip in with some handy goals now and then as he has a personal best of five this season, which coming from a defensive midfielder from a team battling against relegation is indeed rather impressive. This also goes to show how he is a man for the big occasions, such as the Premier League, as it is the stage where he has performed best and scored the most amount of goals.
And this is why Southampton’s fans will be desperate to keep hold of him and defy the interests of Arsenal and Inter Milan this summer as they look to cement their place in the league for years to come.
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