Southampton manager Claude Puel played in the same position as Oriol Romeu – but admits the Spaniard is a better player than he ever was.
Romeu has emerged as one of Saints' key men this season, with the former Barcelona man excelling at the base of Puel's midfield.
Puel was himself a tough-tackling defensive midfielder during a 19-year career with Monaco, but he says the Spaniard is superior on the ball.
"He's more technical," Puel said at his pre-match press conference ahead of Sunday's game against Chelsea, another of Romeu's former clubs.
"I was a different generation. I played in front of the defence and I had a good recovery of the ball, but now it's important in modern football to have a player in this position who is very technical.
"To play in this position, it's important the player can have a good ability to work the ball and to change and to switch it wide."
Once again this summer Saints lost key players, and once again it seems to have made little difference, with Romeu stepping seamlessly into Victor Wanyama's role following his move to Tottenham.
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Harry Kane is one of five Tottenham players missing for Tuesday's crunch Champions League clash against CSKA Moscow - but the striker could return from injury earlier than expected.
Kane sustained an ankle ligament injury against Sunderland eight days ago and has been left out of the trip to Russia, along with Mousa Dembele, Eric Dier, Danny Rose and Moussa Sissoko.
It means Spurs are under-strength for their crunch test in Moscow but manager Mauricio Pochettino said there was better news regarding Kane.
The striker was initially feared to be facing around eight weeks on the sidelines but it is understood it could now be closer to six, raising hopes the 23-year-old could play in the north London derby against Arsenal on November 6.
"Half an hour ago, we received the information about the scan. It's much, much better than we expected," Pochettino said.
"We are happy, it was very positive, the scan. We're very, very happy about this news but still we cannot give a time of how long it'll be to recover.
"I am not a doctor, it's hard to say one, two, three weeks, but it's much, much better than we expected."
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Heung-Min Son says that Tottenham fans are finally seeing the best of him on the pitch after four goals in as many appearances this season.
The South Korea international scored both goals in Spurs' 2-1 win over Middlesbrough on Saturday, after netting twice in a 4-0 rout of Stoke City earlier this month.
I feel very good now - I felt very good last season as well but I got injured.
Last season was my first in the Premier League and now I want to do better.
It's not finished - I look forward and will work hard every day for Tottenham.
Unbeaten Everton have made their best start to a season in 38 years, but their defender Seamus Coleman insists the players won't get carried away.
A 3-1 victory over Middlesbrough made it four wins in five matches for Everton, equalling the club's 13-point haul of the 1978/79 season.
"You would rather this start than what we've had the past couple of season," said Coleman, on the scoresheet with Everton's second against Boro.
"Winning games breeds confidence and going into the next one we will feel we can win that.
"We're not looking to the end of the season and where we can finish.
"I know it's a boring answer but we're just looking to the next game and go into the international break with two more wins.
"[Manager] Ronald Koeman expects people to work hard, he expects his forwards to work hard, and he demands respect from everyone and that is what you want from your boss.
"He is a very tough task master and expects the best from everyone: timekeeping has to be on point and other little basics which I believe are very important.
"He tells it like it is and if you can't take it maybe you shouldn't be in this job."
Manager Claude Puel is confident his Southampton players will finally get the rewards their performances deserve with a first Premier League victory of the season when Swansea visit St Mary's on Sunday.
The Saints kicked off their Europa League campaign with a 3-0 home win against Sparta Prague on Thursday after Puel made seven changes to his starting XI.
While Puel, appointed following the summer departure of Ronald Koeman, feels the squad have produced some solid displays in each Premier League game, turning those into all three points has so far proved illusive.
Both other league matches at St Mary's have ended in 1-1 draws, while there were defeats at Manchester United and then Arsenal last weekend, albeit to a somewhat controversial penalty deep into stoppage time.
Nevertheless Puel has seen enough to remain confident that first Premier League triumph is close.
"It was a good result for us in Europe, now it is important to carry on the same work in the Premier League," said the French coach, who had spells in charge of Monaco, Lille, Lyon and Nice.
"It will be important for us and our fans also, because it is important to keep a good efficient team, to score and be rewarded for all of the many good things we can make in our game.
"We have the possibilities to play against the football of every opponent."
Dejan Lovren insists it is too early to consider Liverpool as Premier League title contenders despite their impressive start to the season.
The Croatia defender notched his first league goal for the Reds in Friday night's 2-1 win at Chelsea, with captain Jordan Henderson scoring a superb second as Jurgen Klopp's side dominated the first half at Stamford Bridge.
Diego Costa pulled a goal back for the hosts after the interval but Liverpool saw out the remainder of the contest to record another positive result.
Only a surprise defeat at Burnley blots Liverpool's early record but Lovren believes talk of a first league title in 27 years is premature.
Asked about a potential title challenge, Lovren told the club's official website: "It's too early to talk about that but we are positive and we can keep playing well.
"We have so many players here on the bench that can make a difference, we have a brilliant squad, the 25 players here, even those in the stand are top players.
"It's a challenge for all of us to be 100 per cent in training and that's what keeps us improving every day."