We travel to St Mary’s on Saturday, looking to increase the one-point gap between ourselves and the seventh-placed Saints as the race for the European places intensifies.
Ronald Koeman has utilised a host of young players on the south coast this season including midfielder James Ward-Prowse – a man Eric knows well.
Both have featured for England Under-21s on the international stage, but our 21-year-old defender is looking forward to opposing the Saints man for 90 minutes this weekend.
“Prowsie is a good friend of mine with England Under-21s,” said Eric. “He wasn’t able to play in the home game against Southampton, but I’m looking forward to seeing him and some of their other players and hopefully playing against them.
“I spoke to James last week, I might send him a text before the weekend but all I’m focused on is getting the win for us.
“We know they’ve obviously done really well all season so it’s going to be a really tough game. They’re direct rivals for a European place so it’s a very important match towards the end of the season and we need to try to get the right result.”
After a consistent spell at centre-half in recent months, Eric was deployed in the right-back role he occupied at the start of the season when we travelled to Newcastle last weekend.
Goals from Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane gave us a 3-1 win, with Eric confirming the positive result can only help us going into Saturday’s clash with the Saints.
“I haven’t played at right-back for a while so maybe in the first 10 minutes I was getting used to it again and adjusting my body shape, but after that I felt good and I’m obviously thrilled that we won,” he said.
“It was important to get the win, a comfortable win as well, because of the two results before that and I think everyone is happy about that and raring to go at Southampton.”