By SFC Media time Thu 08 Feb Wesley Hoedt

Dutch international on Saints' form, importance of fans and growing into Premier League life.

Wesley Hoedt’s contribution during Saints’ Premier League success over West Bromwich Albion will have no doubt struck a chord both on and off the pitch.

After a difficult spell, the 3-2 victory came as a welcome relief to players and the travelling contingent alike, whose vociferous backing and support was integral in the Midlands.

The Dutch international was quick to show his gratitude when he went over and handed a young fan his matchworn shirt - all players followed his lead. While some roll out the clichés, those genuine moments are often a priceless rarity in the modern game. That togetherness, he feels, is vital in building success.

“I think the fans are the most important piece of the game, without them there is no show. We have to be thankful for them; they are supporting us through the difficult times and the spell we had without a win so I felt like I wanted to give something back.

“Luckily the other guys followed me in doing it and it was right to because they deserved it.

“The home support is going to be very important. We need the fans behind us; if they do that then we can go out on the pitch and try and win as many points as possible.”

Hoedt has also built a strong connection with Jack Stephens in recent weeks at the heart of defence.

The transition to playing in the Premier League is not always seamless but having already experienced Serie A and Eredivisie at the age of 23, the Alkmaar-born defender has a bank of knowledge to help his growth.

“It’s always better to build a partnership as a centre-back, once you start learning where the other guy goes and what he is going to do and Jack and I are showing that at the moment.

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 03: Jack Stephens of Southampton FC celebrates during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Southampton at The Hawthorns on February 3, 2018 in West Bromwich, England. (Photo by Matt Watson/Getty Images)
Stephens celebrates his third goal in as many games at West Brom

“Maya Yoshida is a great defender and great player too, so we have good quality in that position. We’re doing well but I think we can still improve on a lot of things.

“I think I’m growing; I’m playing every week now and that has given me some consistency, which is great. Again, I think I’m doing well but I know that I can still do a lot more. I want to be a better player and I want to help the Saints. I want to grow into the league.

"The Premier League has a lot of direct play and that’s something that I need to adapt to; I think I’m starting to do that at the moment. Strikers here are physical and fast so it’s something different for me relative to what I’ve experienced before.

"At the same time that you’re trying to add different elements to your game, it’s important not to lose sight of your qualities; I like to pass the ball out from defence and influence the play because that’s one of my biggest strengths.”

So to Liverpool at St Mary’s, where Saints hope to start gathering momentum and push up the table with a victory.

“We’re far from done yet,” Hoedt reiterates when looking ahead to another vital clash.

“The spirit in the team is good at the moment. We really needed a win, which we got against West Brom but there are still 12 games to go plus any extras from the FA Cup.

“More victories and more good performances are going to get us away from danger. Liverpool have a great team but so do we. We have to be competitive and try and deliver as a good a performance as we can. We have to go all out, 100 per cent for the win.”