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The Big Interview - Toby Alderweireld

Posted on 17 December 2015  - 12:45

Toby Alderweireld is back on familiar ground on Saturday.

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The defender spent last season on loan at Southampton before joining us from Atletico Madrid in the summer.

Toby has been outstanding for us this season. Re-united with Belgian compatriot and former Ajax team-mate Jan Vertonghen, the central pair have started all 16 matches in the Premier League, where we've lost just twice and conceded only 14 goals.

However, Toby's return to St Mary's will be on the back of a defeat last time out to Newcastle - a feeling the players haven't experienced in the Premier League since August 8.

Toby felt the result was only a blip and stressed the importance of not 'talking ourselves into negativity' as we try to put it right.

What are your thoughts ahead of facing Southampton on Saturday?
Toby:
“I will be happy to play there again and to see all the guys but it’s all about a good performance for us. I’m very thankful to Southampton and we helped each other. They needed a centre-back and I had the decision to stay at Atletico or come to the Premier League.”

That must have been a tough decision as Atletico continue to compete at the top of La Liga…
Toby:
“It was easier to stay in Atletico. We’d just reached the Champions League final, won the title before that and (Diego) Simeone had confidence in me but my feeling was that I wanted to play every game, so I made the decision to go to Southampton. I gave everything for the club, 100%, I played against Spurs with a broken shoulder! I gave everything. I just hope they know that. I had a wonderful season there, got to know the Premier League and I was very pleased to play there.”

Below: Toby celebrates his goal against West Ham

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What do you make of Southampton this season?
Toby:
“They haven’t got the results they would have wanted in the last couple of games but they are doing well. They have a very decent team and have played well this season. If you look player by player, it’s a strong squad. They are consistent and capable of beating anyone and they have something special there. Graziano Pelle is a good player, Sadio Mane, Victor Wanyama, Dusan Tadic and I could keep going.”

What was the reaction after the defeat against Newcastle?
Toby:
“It was tough but that’s the Premier League. It can happen. We were all devastated and angry but it’s one game and we have to bounce back. We have to take the good things into the next game. It was a bad 20 minutes, that’s it. We want to do better but we don’t want to talk ourselves into negativity. We could have won every game and we will do everything to get a good result at Southampton. We have to be positive, and positive for the next game.”

Below: Toby at Hotspur Way

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Your own form has been exceptional…
Toby:
“I’m very happy with how things have gone. There is something about how I feel here. I’m very lucky to be here, I’m very happy and the guys have helped me from day one, so any credit doesn’t just go to me. They gave me confidence and that’s one of the most important things in football, having the confidence to show your ability. I’m very happy here. I just hope I stay fit and we’ll see what happens.”

Finally, what did you make of the Euro 2016 draw? Belgium face Italy, the Republic of Ireland and Sweden in France…
Toby:
“It’s a difficult draw and we have a lot of respect for our opponents. Italy are always there in tournaments, they are tournament players. Sweden of course have Ibrahimovic, the Republic of Ireland have a great spirit and good players. It’s a tough group. We have to look at this group stage first and it will be a tough, tough group but we’re confident.”