Jose Fonte relishing leading out Saints in Europa League qualifier

first_img1 Jose Fonte Jose Fonte admits captaining Southampton in Thursday’s Europa League tie against Vitesse Arnhem will be one of the proudest moments of his career.The Saints’ rapid ascent from League One to the Europa League in just four years culminates in their third qualifying round encounter at St Mary’s – Southampton’s first in Europe since 2003.In that time, the club have plummeted to the third tier and verge of liquidation, only to rise again and last season achieve their best ever Premier League finish.Fonte was part of the side promoted from League One and remains an integral member four years on, making Thursday’s first leg against Vitesse particularly sweet for the Portuguese.“It’s definitely one of the proudest moments in my career,” he said.“We have been together for a long time and through all the dark, tough years, and now to be leading the team hopefully tomorrow will be a very proud moment.“I am extremely happy and want the game to come as soon as possible.”Southampton have added six new signings this summer and Fonte has been impressed by the new boys and believes they are capable of filling the void left by Morgan Schneiderlin, Nathaniel Clyne and Toby Alderweireld.“First, we didn’t let as many players leave as last season which is very important,” the Portugal international said, referring to last summer’s talent drain.“We lost quality players but the replacements were the same quality. We are in a good place, everybody knows each other.“The new guys showed already they have a lot of quality so I am really relaxed on that aspect.”last_img

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