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Hooiveld happy to defy doubters

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Jos Hooiveld thought he was unfairly criticised at the start of the season

Jos Hooiveld thought he was unfairly criticised at the start of the season

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Jos Hooiveld thought he was unfairly criticised at the start of the season

Jos Hooiveld is enjoying proving the naysayers wrong, having felt like the "fall guy" during Southampton's poor start to the season.

Saints may now be sitting pretty in mid-table but earlier in the season many had tipped them for the drop after a dreadful start to life back in the top-flight. The defence came under scrutiny as they secured just one win in their opening 11 matches, with much of the blame falling on the broad shoulders of centre-back Hooiveld.

The Dutch defender lost his starting berth as a result but is back in the side and has looked rejuvenated of late - something that has left him feeling quite smug. "I like to prove people wrong," he said.

"If you look at my career, I've proven people wrong everywhere I have been. I did at Celtic and then in Copenhagen they didn't want me. At the end of the day, I am standing there with a smile on my face and that is football.

"If you're going to look at all my games at the beginning, it was not that poor. People were saying it was poor, it was bad and they had to blame someone. Oh, and that is me. We're now over that, it is nice to play and it is not like I am amazing now and before I was terrible, you know?

"I think the best part of everything is that we're getting the points, but at the beginning of the season you could see that the whole team was struggling. We didn't have much experience in the Premier League so it was a bit annoying when it was 'Jos this', 'Jos that'. I was a bit unfortunate with own goals, penalties or whatever. It was a thin line.

"Sometimes you are the praised man and at the beginning of the season I was the fall guy. I took the blame for everything. It bothered me a little bit when people pointed the finger at my direction. It is always nice to get the revenge and I always knew as soon as everyone was established we were going to be a serious Premier League side."

Hooiveld is now an established part of the Southampton defence, which has sured up impressively since former Celtic team-mate Artur Boruc became number one at the turn of the year. Boruc is undisputed first choice and there is an increasing clamour for him to extend his stay past the end of the season

"I would definitely like him to stay," Hooiveld said. "I played with him at Celtic for a little while - actually just one-and-a-half games because I got injured. They don't call him the 'holy goalie' for nothing. You don't get that nickname for nothing. He is a good presence and a bit of a character. Everybody knows that.

"If he doesn't like something, you will know about it. At the beginning our fans had to get used to it I remember, but that is something you have to appreciate in people as well. Not everybody has to be the friendly guy like me, if you know what I mean? Sometimes you have to have people who also have that other side."


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