Thursday 26 April 2018

My future is with Southampton, says Ronald Koeman

Ronald Koeman is happy staying as manager of Southampton
Ronald Koeman is happy staying as manager of Southampton

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has denied any interest in taking over at fellow Barclays Premier League side Everton and insists he is staying at St Mary's.

Roberto Martinez was sacked by the Merseyside club on Thursday after three years in charge and Koeman has since been linked with the job.

The Dutch boss has a year left on his contract after taking over at Southampton in August 2014 and told the assembled media at his Friday press conference that he has no interest in leaving just yet.

Asked if his future was staying at Southampton he answered: "Yes. I did not expect this question. After this morning, I was surprised.

"(I can tell you) nothing, because I am the manager of Southampton.

"Everybody knows I have one year left on my contract and we will sit together and analyse this season and we will talk about the future and that is what the news is today."

Koeman will meet with Les Reed, the director of football at Southampton, after the season finishes on Sunday to discuss his contract extension but the Saints boss is pleased with the progress of the club.

A win over Crystal Palace on the last day of the Premier League season will keep them in with a chance of Europa League qualification for next season.

He said: "What is good is that the club are happy with the work, together with the technical staff and the players, that we have done.

"There is a very good understanding between the manager and the players and that is good because it is important to continue.

"So let's do our job this weekend and there is time enough before I go on holiday to have a talk about the future of the club.

"Everything can happen very fast and that is no problem."

Koeman was not alone in pledging his future to the Saints on Friday as England goalkeeper Fraser Forster and midfielder James Ward-Prowse signed new long-term deals.

Forster, who is set to be named in Roy Hodgson's Euro 2016 squad on Monday, has penned a five-year contract extension, with Ward-Prowse signing for six more seasons.

The pair follow defender Virgil van Dijk in committing to the club, with the Dutchman having agreed new terms until 2022 in the past week.

Forster, 28, joined Saints from Celtic in 2014 and has gone on to establish himself as one of the top keepers in the Premier League.

As well as winning five international caps, Forster broke the club's clean sheet record earlier this season, going more than 700 minutes without conceding.

He told the club's official YouTube channel: "I'm delighted. It's been another good year for the club and I think there's real ambition around the place and it's good to be a part of it.

"To commit and sign a new deal is unbelievable and I'm just looking forward to getting started again.

"Every player wants to keep moving forward in their career and for me especially I'm very ambitious, and I think at this club there is that real ambition and desire to keep moving forward and improve year-in, year-out.

"If you look at just last week with Virgil signing his new deal, that was obviously positive news and after last year and then this year it's obvious things are moving forward and hopefully we can keep doing that in the future."

Ward-Prowse, an academy graduate who is now England Under-21 captain, added: "I'm delighted. When I knew I had the chance to extend my stay here it was a no-brainer for me.

"It's pleasing that the club have shown that they have faith in me to extend my stay and I want to repay the faith to the club for putting their time and effort into making me the player I am today."

Press Association

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