Eljero Elia: Southampton forward grateful for club's support

Eljero Elia and Ronald Koeman
Elia made a point of celebrating with manager Ronald Koeman on the touchline

Southampton's Eljero Elia said scoring his first goals for the club "means everything" after being given the chance to get his career back on track.

The 27-year-old winger, who joined on loan from Werder Bremen, scored a brace in Saturday's 2-1 win over Newcastle.

"The coach, the chairman, the fans have all given me a chance to show what I can do," Elia told BBC Radio Solent.

"I feel the trust and I paid some back with two goals. It means a lot to me - it means everything."

Elia fell out of favour with German Bundesliga side Bremen, with his last appearance for the club coming as an 88th-minute substitute on 23 November.

But Saints boss Ronald Koeman signed the Netherlands international, with Sadio Mane away at the Africa Cup of Nations and Jay Rodriguez still regaining fitness after knee surgery.

Elia arrived at the club with a reputation for getting involved in off-field incidents but Koeman defended him, insisting he had no doubts about the player's character.

Eljero Elia
Elia has previously played for club sides in the Netherlands, Germany and Italy

"I was always surprised about him because he played in a World Cup final and I asked myself why he was not playing," said Koeman, who celebrated Elia's winner at St James' Park on the touchline with the player.

"I know the player personally and we play a system that is a very good system for him.

"He needs the confidence of the coach and he gets that from me. If you play and score like this to be important for the team, then that's fantastic for him. He got his chance and he's taken it with both hands."

Elia, who has also played for Den Haag, FC Twente, Juventus and Hamburg, said his introduction to the Premier League had been interesting.

"I learned that you have to fight - you can play football but you have to fight all the time," said Elia, who made his Saints debut off the bench in last week's 1-0 win over Manchester United.

"The goals were instinct, and I'm so happy that everyone in the club gave me trust and I could pay it back.

"We have lost two of the best players in the Premier League in [injured pair] Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin. I've know them for one or two weeks and I think they are amazing players. I think it's very hard to keep them at Southampton.

"But the players who came in to their positions played very well and when they come back we will be much stronger. Team spirit is very good and everybody has to believe to gain success."

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