Ryan Bertrand says he’s grateful to Southampton boss Ronald Koeman for the way in which he allows the defender to express himself out on the pitch.
Bertrand, currently away with England on international duty, had an excellent season at club level after returning from an injury that ruled him out of the opening month of the season.
The former Chelsea man featured at left-back, left wing-back and centre-back for Koeman’s side during the course of the campaign, and has praised the Saints boss.
“I was fortunate that I had a club like Southampton to go to from Chelsea. They are a very forward-thinking club, who have a brilliant manager that I have been playing under,” Bertrand told reporters.
“He has allowed me to express myself and here I am. Koeman gives us a good platform, the right instructions and tactics, but allows us to do more than that.
“He doesn’t tell us to remain rigid and hit a wall at the halfway line. He allows us to express ourselves and really encourages us to do more.”
After missing a month at the start of the season to recover from an injury picked up towards the end of the previous campaign, Bertrand feels he’s in excellent shape ahead of this summer’s European Championships.
“I feel good,” he added. “If anything I’ve been raising the training levels, as the season’s petered out the more I have had to train.
“I’ve been trying to ensure that my fitness levels are right up there, so I can maintain the sharpness.
“I will go outside and do my fitness. It’s not something you want to do in front of everyone, as if to say ‘look at me, I’m doing my work’. But personally, I like to maintain my fitness.”