Morgan Schneiderlin: Ronald Koeman says star ready to play

By Nabil HassanBBC Sport
Morgan Schneiderlin
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman says Schneiderlin "will continue to be" a Southampton player

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman says Morgan Schneiderlin is ready to play at Anfield on Sunday - if selected.

The 24-year-old midfielder had informed the club last week he was "not mentally or physically ready" to play after being linked to a move to Tottenham.

However, Koeman says the Frenchman has trained well all week and is available for the season opener at Liverpool.

"He showed me that he is ready to play in the last week of training," Koeman told BBC Sport.

The club have repeatedly said Schneiderlin is not for sale and Koeman reiterated that stance.

He added that a decision will be made on Saturday whether Schneiderlin and new signing Shane Long are in the squad for Sunday.

"He had a good week of training after having the weekend off," added Koeman. "I expect him to stay because he is not for sale.

"He has accepted it. It was difficult for him but he came back on Monday and had to understand the situation and accept it. Finally he has.

"His future is here as a football player and he knows that."

How the Saints moved on from their summer exodus (estimated transfer fees)
Rickie Lambert£4mGraziano Pelle£9m
Adam Lallana£25mDusan Tadic£10.9m
Luke Shaw£27mRyan Bertrand(loan - £10m option to buy)
Dejan Lovren£20mFlorin Gardos£6m
Calum Chambers£16mSaphir Taider(loan - £7m option to buy)
Dani Osvaldo(loan - £5.6m option to buy)Shane Long£12m
Billy SharpNominalFraser Forster£10m

The Dutch manager completed his seventh signing of the summer on Thursday with the arrival of central defender Florin Gardos but Koeman added he still hoped to sign "one or two new players", specifically a winger.

He did, however, rule out a move for Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar, who impressed for the Netherlands at the World Cup.

"He is a great central defender, he was one of the names on our list but now we have Florin Gardos," he said.

Koeman takes his side to Anfield on Sunday believing they are capable of repeating last season's success but does not feel Liverpool will be weakened by the exit of striker Luis Suarez.

"It's a great start for us to play away at Liverpool," he said. "It's a tough one and we have to show our quality and ambition.

"We have to believe it is possible. On the pitch it is 11 v 11. We know about the ambience and the fans behind the team but we believe in our qualities.

"It's been difficult, we had a lot of changes, we lost some good players but with the two new signings this week we are well prepared and looking forward to it."

He added: "We know Liverpool will play at a high tempo so we will have to start well and concentrate. They signed new players and I think still they are on the same level and maybe stronger."

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