Jose Fonte at the heart of Southampton’s resurgence

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Football News

It was only a couple of months ago when some neutrals genuinely believed that Southampton could be involved in a relegation dog fight this season.

Now, after a run that has seen them claim five league wins in their last six, keeping cleansheets in each, they are in with a chance of Europa League qualification and only one point behind Manchester United in fifth place.

Since returning from a nine-month layoff due to a knee injury, Fraser Forster is yet to concede a goal in the Saints side. The Englishman has quite rightly received a lot of praise for his performances of late, but his defence equally deserves credit.


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In recent weeks, manager Ronald Koeman has opted for a system that deploys three centre-backs and wing-backs.

And whilst Maya Yoshida, Virgil van Dijk and even Ryan Bertrand have all been given the chance at centre-back in the new formation and played valiantly, captain Jose Fonte has arguably been the most consistent and thrived with an extra man alongside him.

A leader in the heart of his defence, the Portuguese is a commanding presence capable of dealing with the strongest and trickiest of Premier League strikers.

Fonte's distribution and composure on the ball has also benefited his Southampton teammates, often plucking the ball out of the air and spreading it across the pitch rather than clearing it.

His recent form emphasised just how far the 32-year-old has come since signing at St Mary's in January 2010, when the Saints were in League One.

Furthermore, Fonte has earned himself a place in the Portugal national team and appears set to feature at Euro 2016 alongside Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

Whilst unconvincing in front of goals at times, Southampton's defence shows no signs of wavering which will prove vital in achieving their season aspirations.

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