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Oriol Romeu


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Looked decent tonight when called upon. Regulation yellow card and broke up play well.

 

That’s why we need him we have nobody else that can do that role. We can’t always play same way he is great for our squad

 

 

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Edited by Give it to Ron
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Thought he was excellent last night, did exactly what we needed him to do

 

Yep, he was good. Despite lack of match practice he was intercepting, disrupting and providing the physical challenge - left Ayew and McCartney in crumpled heaps and contrary to some opinions, showed he can pick out an attacking pass. Still a very effective DM.

PS . His legs aren't gone!!!

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He was great last night. I have always felt his reputation has been damaged by being the midfielder who was dropped from the 3. Any one of them could’ve been the victim, the 3 just wasn’t working simple as that, he was unlucky it was him and the change in formation has been more important than the change in personnel imo. I thought at the start of the season he was our best player. Been a great signing over his time here, hope we don’t lose him.

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Thought he was excellent last night, did exactly what we needed him to do
Thought he was brilliant. I must have a blind spot with Hojberg as I just can't see what he brings to the side, consistently gives it away through sloppy passing or turning into trouble, rarely creates or scores, tackling isn't great...I'd rather see Romeu and JWP given a run together.

 

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  • 9 months later...
1 hour ago, Jeremy Corbyn said:

Excellent news, hadn't realised he's almost coming up to the 200 game mark for us.  

There's a few players that have sneakily become long time servants for us without it being obvious. Long has made 211 appearances, Bertrand 213, Redmond 167. 

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News of Oriol  Romeu's new contract is absolutely bloody marvellous, so well deserved. It was unbelievable that we would have let his contract run down or allow doubts to be sown in his mind that he didn't figure in our future plans. As we have found to our cost relying on youthful talent alone to get us by will never be enough in this toughest of leagues and it is good that the club philosophy has change to accomodate a blend of youth and experience. We could not hope to buy such a player on the open market or anybody good enough to replace him. Personally I have always loved him for his never-say-die attitude, his loyalty and his work ethic

It is critically important now that this deal is over the line that we concentrate on Bertie's future here. Surely it is a no brainier to offer him a 2 1/2 year contract as well. He is a bright, thoughtful, sometimes disarmingly arrogant player who has the ability like Oriol Romeu to lead from the front and lift the teams performance. Absolutely irreplaceable in our set-up.

Come on Ralph, Crocker, whoever, get the deal done! You know it makes sense!

Edited by Charlie Wayman
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20 minutes ago, Charlie Wayman said:

News of Oriol  Romeu's new contract is absolutely bloody marvellous, so well deserved. It was unbelievable that we would have let his contract run down or allow doubts to be sown in his mind that he didn't figure in our future plans. As we have found to our cost relying on youthful talent alone to get us by will never be enough in this toughest of leagues and it is good that the club philosophy has change to accomodate a blend of youth and experience. We could not hope to buy such a player on the open market or anybody good enough to replace him. Personally I have always loved him for his never-say-die attitude, his loyalty and his work ethic

It is critically important now that this deal is over the line that we concentrate on Bertie's future here. Surely it is a no brainier to offer him a 2 1/2 year contract as well. He is a bright, thoughtful, sometimes disarmingly arrogant player who has the ability like Oriol Romeu to lead from the front and lift the teams performance. Absolutely irreplaceable in our set-up.

Come on Ralph, Crocker, whoever, get the deal done! You know it makes sense!

Think Ings is a higher priority

Edited by stevy777_x
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On 22/11/2020 at 23:21, Ultimatt said:

Everton have only been kept scoreless once this season. A game Romeu bossed in midfield. I've been critical of Romeu in the past but his form this season has been great. I think the way the team presses really suits his game.

Think he has lost weight and has gained some pace because of it. 
Last year before the pandemic he couldn’t keep up with the speed of the prem and we were often overrun in midfield when he played, now it seems the opposite so he has obviously shed some weight and completely improved his fitness to be able to do those high intensity runs.
 

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6 hours ago, The Curse of St Mary's said:

Really good read. Romeu such a nice guy, well spoken and just wants to keep learning. Reading these articles about what it's like playing for Ralph makes you appreciate the intrinsic level of technical detail that goes into the way we play. 

Is it possible to post the full article with Oriol on here please, as I'm not on a subscription with the Athletic, would be much appreciated :)

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Been up all day now so am sure Dan wouldnt mind people reading this article as a one off.

 

As Oriol Romeu approached Ralph Hasenhuttl in February, the Austrian wasn’t ready for what he was about to be asked.

Southampton’s manager saw the former Barcelona man as his fourth-choice midfielder. He was behind Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, James Ward-Prowse and Will Smallbone in the pecking order.

You could forgive Hasenhuttl for thinking this was going to be a disgruntled player about to vent his frustration about a lack of game time. Instead, Romeu asked whether he could play in the under-23s’ upcoming match against Leicester City.

Hasenhuttl, clearly taken aback by the level of professionalism, gave the midfielder his blessing, along with the out-of-form Che Adams, to feature for the youngsters. Even though the under-23s lost 3-1, Romeu was captain for the night and provided the assist for Adams’ 24th-minute goal. It proved to be a moment that cemented the Southampton manager’s opinion of the Spaniard.

But to get back in the first team and stay there, as he managed to do during Project Restart, the Catalan midfielder had to evolve his game to suit Hasenhuttl, which is easier said than done — especially given what’s expected of a player in the Austrian’s starting XI.

“To be honest, it took me a little while to get into Ralph’s ideas because, before Ralph came, I was playing more of a sitting role,” Romeu tells The Athletic. “It was normally a deeper position alongside another midfielder or with two midfielders in front. I knew I had to change it if I wanted to play more games, so that was one thing.

“To change that I had to improve physically and get my numbers higher in terms of high-speed running and total distance and all these things I know are important, but they are even more important for Ralph. I knew I had to get that done.

“But I also knew what I could improve in my game, which was the next step. I needed to be more vertical and forward-minded in the right positions. This is something I felt I’ve always had within myself; I just didn’t bring it out.”

Now he has, Romeu is an integral cog in Hasenhuttl’s football machine — one steadily climbing the Premier League table.


Romeu’s evolution as a central midfielder has been shaped by some of the world’s finest footballers and guided by the game’s brightest managerial minds.

Some players walk around town with an ego that far outweighs their achievements. Not Romeu. He does his talking on the football pitch in full view of his manager.

Signed for Southampton by Ronald Koeman in 2015, Romeu has gone on to play under Claude Puel, Mauricio Pellegrino, Mark Hughes and Hasenhuttl over a five-year period. Each manager brought something different to the table.

Koeman oozed class, Puel erred on the side of caution, Pellegrino was out of his depth, Hughes just about kept them up and Hasenhuttl brings the intensity.

Reflecting on how his midfield role has evolved at Southampton over the years, Romeu says: “I feel very comfortable now. I feel that the level we’ve played over the last four to five months is the best we’ve played since I’ve been here. I wouldn’t change this right now, to be honest.

“The team knows what we have to do, exactly how to press, when to play, when not to play and how to keep the ball. We have got so many patterns, which makes us a lot more dangerous.

“Whereas before, we were probably just one pace, one gear and one plan. Now we can start pressing high, we can drop a little bit more, we can let the centre-backs have the ball while we can readjust.”

As midfield educations go, Romeu’s has to be classed as special. Coming through La Masia allowed him to witness legendary figures like Xavi up close.

After initially starting his youth career at Espanyol, a two-hour journey from his hometown of Ulldecona, a 12-year-old Romeu was convinced to join Barcelona by youth coach Sergio Lobera after finishing as top scorer in the local under-12s league.

Arriving at La Masia is a daunting, yet exciting, prospect for any youth player. It’s steeped in history and has produced some of the world’s finest footballers. Romeu initially thought he was out of his depth but soon settled in.

“When I was at Espanyol, I wanted to go back to my home town,” he reflected. “But the manager from Barca, who had a strong team and better players, told me I shouldn’t go. He wanted me to go with him.

“The first three or four months were hard because I wasn’t sharp enough but all of a sudden it started to work nicely and I felt comfortable. I was in the starting line-up and the national team came. Everything went really good.”

Not long after joining La Masia in 2004, Romeu welcomed a new room-mate. Thiago Alcantara, now of Liverpool, arrived in 2005 from Brazilian side Flamengo.

“We shared a room for a few months and then his family came over and he moved out with them,” Romeu recalls. “We played together for four or five years. When we see each other, we talk a lot but we haven’t really kept in touch since we all went our different ways.

“What caught my attention was how mature he was at such a young age. His father had a lot to do with that and, even though he was young, he could already speak English. He had a lot of sense.”

Also coming through the Barcelona production line at the time were Martin Montoya, Marc Bartra and Sergi Roberto. The group are still close friends to this day and, in normal times, will meet whenever they can.

The first-team headliners at the time, though, were of course the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi. It won’t come as a surprise to anyone that Romeu was in awe of Xavi. Yet despite having moved in such illustrious circles, the midfielder he describes as “the most complete” he has ever seen is not one who plied his trade at the Nou Camp.

“If complete means attack, defence, tackling and giving assists, then I would probably say (Steven) Gerrard,” the Spaniard says. “He had everything. He could play in defence, as he did in Istanbul, or score goals, make crucial tackles. In that regard, he was probably the best.

“But if we are talking about managing the game, moving the ball and playing wisely, then Xavi is the best I’ve seen. I was lucky enough to train with him and see it with my own eyes. I am still shocked when I think about how he took some of those touches and how he knew before he had the ball what he was going to do. His mind was so quick.

“He knew he wasn’t strong or physical, so his first touch was perfect nearly every single time. It looks easy from the outside but I’ve been trying to do it for so long and still haven’t got there. If everyone was like Xavi, football would be a lot better.”

Youth players will often highlight a senior figure as someone they look up to, hoping they can follow in their footsteps. Midfielders at La Masia would have highlighted Xavi as someone who had reached the pinnacle — he had won it all. But more important to Romeu and the other academy youngsters was that the World Cup winner actively went out of his way to help and offer advice whenever he could.

“He was someone who would talk to you and who was close to the young players,” the midfielder continues. “I admired everything about him, on and off the pitch. It was amazing to have such a good example next to me at that stage of my career.

“I tried not to bother him too much — I would have loved to have kept asking him things!

“You don’t want to be too rude and you have to understand they need their own space. The first thing I did when I was in the first-team squad was to ask him for his shirt. I still have that shirt at my house. It’s one of my most treasured possessions.”

Knowing how much of a boost it can be for a young player to be able to pick the brain of a senior pro, Romeu takes it upon himself to offer advice to Southampton’s up-and-coming generation.

And, let’s face it, given his CV, he’s someone they should be squeezing every bit of information from.

Just look at the managers he’s worked under; in no particular order — Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique, Jose Mourinho, Koeman, Andre Villas-Boas, Hasenhuttl, Rafael Benitez and Roberto Di Matteo.

You won’t hear him boasting about his star-studded contacts book inside the Southampton dressing room, however. The Athletic is aware of some former Southampton players bragging about having shared a pitch with global superstars at previous clubs, but Romeu — who would surely win any game of “former team-mate Top Trumps” at a canter — prefers not to bore his current colleagues with constant tales of days gone by.

The Athletic, however, is keen to hear more.

“They were massive experiences,” he says when prompted to recall what it was like working with Guardiola and Mourinho. “I think it’s so funny how different managers get the best out of their players with different tactics and messages.

“I think, for example, Mourinho makes you like him because he is honest and he is straight with you. He doesn’t come across with different messages. He gives you one message and says it’s up to you whether you take it on board or not. That’s sometimes missing in football, especially in our bubble, I would say. We tend to hear what we want to hear and not what we have to hear.

“With Guardiola, I think his football knowledge is something else. The ability he has to get into half-time and point out two or three things to change around would make a massive impact in the game. I remember thinking on the bench, ‘How the hell have you seen those things?’

“He had the same view from the bench view that I had! How has he seen whether the full-back was coming in around here or there? It was unreal. It’s so hard for a manager to get those solutions so quickly.”

Yet The Athletic was surprised to learn that neither of the pair have been the biggest managerial influence on Romeu. That title went to another former Barcelona manager.

“I also love Luis Enrique,” the La Masia graduate adds. “He is probably the one who helped me the most. He had a little bit of both (Mourinho and Guardiola). He had an amazing football knowledge.

“When I was with him, he was still only starting out, but you could tell he had amazing ideas and a different approach to playing and defending. What I really like about him is that he was always to the point, ‘You need this, you need that’. I think I was with him for around three years and it was tough, but when we were working together, I realised how much I saw things.”

Struggling to get into Enrique’s Barcelona side, Romeu left the Nou Camp in 2011 to join a Chelsea team that boasted the likes of Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and John Terry. Juan Mata also arrived in the same year, with the two Spaniards forming a close, long-lasting friendship.

He spent four years at Stamford Bridge, although two of those were spent on loan with Valencia and Stuttgart. Koeman then came calling and the lure of a Barcelona legend, who also played in midfield, was too difficult to turn down.

Despite joining Southampton at a good time, there was one downside to playing for Koeman: “Working under him was such a nice thing but I could feel that you could let him down very easily because he was such a good player and would never make the mistakes we did.

“You’d be thinking, ‘I haven’t scored that goal from outside the box and he would have scored three of them already’.

“He had that nice pressure because he was such a good player. Koeman is such an intelligent person, and he knows how to send messages across. He isn’t very talkative but he talks at the right moment.

“I like that mindset. I don’t want to be (skirting) around things. He talks when he has to talk and says what he has to say.”


Romeu is a footballer dedicated to his craft, so it doesn’t come as a surprise to The Athletic to learn from sources around the club that he is the first one out to train on the Staplewood pitch, often waiting for the others to join him before the session starts.

Hasenhuttl noticed the midfielder doing this, even when he wasn’t playing, and labelled him the “most professional” player he’s come across during his time in management.

A good relationship with the Austrian is one thing, but to be effective in Hasenhuttl’s Southampton side, Romeu needed time to work out what was being asked of him.

“Sometimes the hardest thing for managers is to make footballers understand,” Romeu continues. “Football is such an endless game where there are so many options and different things to be decided in the split of a second.

“I think the good thing from Ralph is that he makes players understand what he wants; even though these are sometimes different approaches or things we haven’t been taught before, they come to you in time.

“I could close my eyes now and know where I have to run with the ball and also without it. That’s credit to the manager because it is hard for managers to explain themselves and express what they want from the players. Every manager needs time, and Ralph has had the time to get the message across. I definitely think he’s got it right.”

Key to Romeu’s game is knowing when to press. Hasenhuttl has his team drilled in a way that revolves around synchronisation. If, for example, Stuart Armstrong closes down an opposing player, there will be another Southampton player following in his footsteps in case the Scottish international is beaten.

Where Romeu sits a bit deeper, he has the benefit of seeing patterns of play unfold, giving him an advantage of knowing when he should surge forward. Southampton’s manager refers to this as “automatism”. He wants everyone to know their roles instinctively.

To take this further, explaining the various nuances within the pressing system, Romeu reveals there are points during a passage of play which determines when to press or hold tight.

“If (an opponent) is receiving the ball in a bad position or there’s a long pass, it’s a pressing trigger,” he continues. “And if they pass backwards, that’s a pressing trigger, because it means they don’t have an advantage.

“They will more than likely be more vulnerable in those scenarios, which is why we decide to go for it at that moment.

“Triggers are something I learnt from Ralph but I also know you cannot play for 90 minutes at 100 per cent. There is no team or player who can run at full speed for 90 minutes. To be more successful with your press you have to be very synchronised in those moments.”

Another important facet to playing in midfield for Hasenhuttl is being comfortable on the ball, and Romeu certainly ticks that box, too. Watching him at times he looks two or three moves ahead of his nearest opponent, receiving the ball in tight spaces before taking a touch and passing it on without fuss.

This could be seen during Southampton’s recent 2-0 win over Newcastle. Romeu picked up the ball inside Southampton’s penalty area, only to look up and see three opponents heading his way.

What he did next highlights where he had his football education — more on that shortly — and separates him from other players in the Saints line-up. He took a touch, beat the first player, took it past the second, set himself free and then started a counter-attack with a wonderful through ball.

Asked whether this is a natural talent or a skill he honed over the course of his career, Romeu says: “We used to have the ball a lot (at La Masia), as teams defended deep against us, so we would need to play in small gaps to be able to break through the lines.

“That’s something that has definitely helped me, but managing that space and time — Xavi said it a lot — is one of the most important things, especially for midfielders. It’s knowing how long I’ve got before I have to play the ball.

“Sometimes, people will see a player coming and think they are under pressure. But sometimes the opponent isn’t close enough to win the ball. If you panic and play too quickly, then you could lose the ball.

“But if you can read that he isn’t actually that close, then that gives you such an advantage. I need a lot of confidence to do it. I think top, top players do it every single time and that’s what makes them so reliable throughout their careers.”

As well as being gifted on the ball, which has earned him the nickname “Oz” after the Wizard of Oz by his team-mates, Romeu is also a tireless presser.

There are several advantages to pressing, but one of the main ones is winning the ball back higher up the pitch. Southampton have a knack for this and will quickly turn an opposition attack into a counter-attack of their own.

Romeu is instrumental in this, often stealing possession inside the attacking half, leaving the other team’s midfielders and attackers facing the wrong way. Gone are the days when he was asked to spend 90 minutes shielding the defence.


Romeu refers to the 2016-17 season as his best in a Southampton shirt, largely down to the fact he was a regular starter. The midfielder tempered that claim with the caveat that the current campaign will top it if he remains in the team. And given the fact he recently signed a new two-and-a-half-year contract, the signs are positive.

Southampton have started the season brilliantly, even going top of the Premier League table for the first time since its inception, but, as always, Romeu isn’t getting carried away, although he did admit they could achieve something special if they keep their form going.

“I don’t really have a clear answer,” he responds when asked whether the club’s expectations have changed in light of their recent run of form. “I do think we can compete against anyone right now. That gives you such a good feeling about what you are doing as a team.

“I’m not thinking about finishing second or fourth but I do feel like we can give it a really good go this season. If you want me to be honest, I think we can achieve something special. I don’t know what, but we can create something that can be remembered for a while.”

Hasenhuttl, as Romeu quickly points out, won’t allow for complacency: “As soon as we lose, he has a different mood during the week.

“If we are winning, he always wants more. When we went top of the table, it was great but he told us it’s not over. Sometimes, players can get carried away with a good result.

“Football is so demanding and we have learnt that as soon as you take your foot off the pedal, all the other teams fly past you. That (pressure) is what we need to have, and that’s what the manager has in his DNA.”

Away from the pitch, Romeu enjoys the simple things in life. He starts every morning by meditating and stretching. The 29-year-old is also an avid reader, a keen chess player, a lover of tennis and all things Rafael Nadal, a fan of classic cars and is currently learning French to go along with the four other languages already in his repertoire (English, Catalan, Spanish and German).

Pre-pandemic, Romeu would often go back to Ulldecona, where he runs soccer schools. He is one of only two players from the small town to turn professional, the other being former Manchester City midfielder Aleix Garcia.

Southampton’s central midfielder has come a long way since asking to play for the under-23s at the beginning of March. But through hard work, grit and determination he has fought his way back into the St Mary’s fold. Romeu’s role in the team has evolved over the years but one thing has remained constant throughout the change: his character. The 29-year-old is a model professional and one of the good guys but, more importantly, he lets his football do the talking.

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"You won’t hear him boasting about his star-studded contacts book inside the Southampton dressing room, however. The Athletic is aware of some former Southampton players bragging about having shared a pitch with global superstars at previous clubs"

Who this?

Romeu would make a good captain, going from the information provided, good to have him around the club as well as him now bringing quality to the first eleven.

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1 hour ago, HarvSFC said:

"You won’t hear him boasting about his star-studded contacts book inside the Southampton dressing room, however. The Athletic is aware of some former Southampton players bragging about having shared a pitch with global superstars at previous clubs"

Who this?

Romeu would make a good captain, going from the information provided, good to have him around the club as well as him now bringing quality to the first eleven.

I read this and also wondered who.

Fonte and or Soares perhaps ???

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On 26/11/2020 at 19:52, HarvSFC said:

"You won’t hear him boasting about his star-studded contacts book inside the Southampton dressing room, however. The Athletic is aware of some former Southampton players bragging about having shared a pitch with global superstars at previous clubs"

Who this?

Romeu would make a good captain, going from the information provided, good to have him around the club as well as him now bringing quality to the first eleven.

Hojbjerg springs to mind, from his Bayern days. Definitely Cedric with Ronaldo. 

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11 minutes ago, saintwbu said:

Probably a bit late in the day but would be great if we could keep at the level we’re at and give Ori a chance of getting a cap for Spain. It’s not the best squad they’ve ever had, Adama Traore gets in it at the moment too. 

Nah, can't see that ever happening. He's no where near the thoughts of the national team. In front of him you've got Saul, Koke, Lorente, Merino, Rodri, Thiago, Busquets, Pajerjo, Fabien, Ceballos - and some others! So much quality in their midfield, probably the place they've got the most.

Romeu is a decent player for us and fits the system we play perfectly, but he's not anywhere near the level of some of those above.

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On 28/11/2020 at 10:06, saintwbu said:

Hojbjerg springs to mind, from his Bayern days. Definitely Cedric with Ronaldo. 

When would Cedric have shared a club pitch with Ronaldo? He was only 12 when Ronaldo left Sporting, doubt they would have shared a pitch when he between the ages of 7 and 12. Fonte would have shared a pitch with him though. 

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