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Wanyama: 'Father figure Mauricio teaches you about life'

Fri 24 March 2017, 16:51|Tottenham Hotspur

Victor Wanyama has spoken about the influence of Mauricio Pochettino on his career – and it extends beyond football.

The Kenyan midfielder initially joined Mauricio at Southampton in a move from Celtic in July, 2013, before hooking up again with the manager at Spurs last summer.

Victor has been an absolute revelation in the holding midfield role and remains our only ever-present in the Premier League having started 28 of 28 so far.

Celtic to Saints

Victor initially caught the eye at Belgian side Beerschot AC. He moved to Celtic in 2011, helped them to two Scottish titles and scored in a famous win in the Champions League against Barcelona in November, 2012, before joining Mauricio at Southampton in July, 2013.

“I’d never had a manager who wants you to improve day by day like him,” said Victor. “He works on your weakness, he’s a good role model and he doesn’t just look at football, but life in general.

“He teaches you about life, how to live with people and that was amazing to me. We worked hard and after a while, you could see the difference because in the games I felt like the games were easier and we could run for 100 minutes because we were fitter. It worked well for us.”


Saints to Spurs

Mauricio joined Spurs ahead of the 2014-15 campaign and after three seasons at St Mary’s, Victor took the same path to the Lane in July, 2016.

“I’d played against Spurs a few times and they were a hard team to beat,” said Victor. “The manager started improving the team and I felt this was a Club going somewhere.

“I looked at where the Club was heading and with the manager, I knew I couldn’t go wrong. I know he builds for the future and wants to fight for everything. I couldn’t resist that.”


The father figure

Victor’s performances have made him an instant favourite in his first season at Spurs. He’s formed a formidable partnership alongside Mousa Dembele in the midfield engine room, their protection not only helping the team maintain the best defensive record in the Premier League, but constantly winning back possession to set up attacks.

“Mauricio has improved my game in all aspects, everything,” added Victor. “It’s not just football, in life as well I’ve learned a lot of things. He’s been able to teach me a lot inside and outside football, how to live with people, how to be humble.

“I’ve learned a lot of things through him and I don’t just see him as a manager but as a father figure.”