Ahead of Southampton’s first home game of the season against Sunderland on Saturday, (10am ET, watch live on NBCSN and online via NBC Sports Live Extra) bruising midfielder Victor Wanyama is certainly excited.
The 22-year-old Kenyan powerhouse swapped Celtic for the Saints over the summer in a $18 million deal, and hasn’t looked back since.
Wanyama is relishing life in the Premier League, after impressing in the opening day win over West Brom.
“I like a physical challenge,” Wanyama said. “But every week the Premier League will throw me a new challenge and that is to get better. It is the most competitive league and I’m excited about what I am getting into. I want to show I can make a big impact but not just by being physical.”
The holding midfielder shone in the Champions League last year, scoring against Barcelona during Celtic’s famous 2-1 win and putting in plenty of dominant displays.
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That experience on Europe’s highest stage can help him prosper with the Saints, so says Wanyama.
“I think that by competing for Celtic in Europe against teams such as Barcelona, Benfica and Juventus I have shown there’s more to my game than that.”
Bringing in Wanyama was another major coup from Southampton’s Argentine manager Mauricio Pochettino. This summer Croatian international defender Dejan Lovren joined from Lyon, while Italian international striker Pablo Osvaldo arrived from Roma for a club record $22.5 million earlier this week.
While Wanyama is the new driving force in Saints’ midfield, in a squad that all of a sudden looks incredibly strong.
“He has been great,” Wanyama said of Pochettino. “I have only been here a short time but already he has taught me a lot. He is a good motivator but knows when to pick out details that can change your game. It’s nice here. My motto is always to do better and if I didn’t think I could achieve that I wouldn’t have come. I have belief that I can realize dreams here.”