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Daily Echo

Schneiderlin's the best tackler in Europe

Morgan Schneiderlin

Morgan Schneiderlin

Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author

Reported by Adam Leitch

Chief Sports Writer

Published / Sport
150 comments

Morgan Schneiderlin has gone from the depths of League One to officially establish himself as one of the top midfielders in Europe.

The Frenchman had only been at Saints for one season when they were relegated to the third tier of English football.

But the former Strasbourg man stayed with the club and battled back to the top flight where he has become a star name.

His impact and importance has been underlined this week by official figures that cover players from Europe’s top five divisions.

They show that Schneiderlin has made 162 tackles and interceptions this season, more than any other player across the five major leagues of Europe.

He also tops the average number of tackles made per game for any outfield player in the Premier League with 4.1 while an average of 3.3 interceptions per match puts him fifth in the top flight.

Schneiderlin’s £1.2m signing in the summer of 2008 was one of the first deals Rupert Lowe completed on his controversial return to St Mary’s.

The midfielder was only 18 when he joined the club, moving away from home for the first time to a country where he knew little of the football that awaited him and didn’t speak the language.

His first season was a tough one as he was thrust into a very young side that floundered in the Championship, eventually getting relegated as the club plunged into administration.

When Alan Pardew took over he immediately spotted Schneiderlin’s potential and went about toughening him up.

Over the course of a season Schneiderlin was turned from a flair player who had an excellent range of passing but was easily physically beaten by the punishing players of League One into an all-round talent.

Under Nigel Adkins he started to develop into a thoroughbred of a holding central midfield player and has flourished the further up the divisions he has gone.

Landing in the Premier League has suited him even better and his partnership with the fit again Jack Cork has arguably proved the catalyst for Saints turning their season around.

Schneiderlin has long since been linked with a move to Arsenal and you can see why Arsene Wenger might be a fan.

But Schneiderlin is a fixture at Saints these days and at just 23-years-old has already made over 150 appearances for the club.

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