One of Claude Puel’s signings at Southampton when the Frenchman took over from Ronald Koeman at St Mary’s, Jérémy Pied was meant to be the utility man his manager could count on to play either at right-back or further up the field.
Unfortunately, soon after his arrival the player suffered a serious injury to his knee that hindered his time at the club throughout his two years there, where he only managed to make eight appearances.
Now at Lille, where he acts as backup for Zeki Celik and adds much needed experience to a relatively young squad, the 30-year-old is preparing for a season in the Champions League after the club finished second in Ligue 1 last season.
Speaking to RMC Sport about all this, the defender openly discussed his time at Southampton and how things could have gone so much better for him.
He said: “I was coming off my best season at Nice, where I moved to right-back. It was meant to be the next step in my career, abroad at Southampton. It was the season to confirm my ability. It’s a disappointment, but once the knee is broken, what can you do? Either you cry, or you tell yourself you’ve only got two years on your contract and you need to come back quickly”.
And with many describing his time in England and Southampton as a ‘failed experiment’, the player, now able to calmly look back on it, can’t help but agree.
He added: “It’s difficult to take positives from it. It’s an experience abroad where I got to learn English and build a family life. I played alongside great players and very good managers. I know how to use that now. English, for example, is important.
“When new players arrive at Lille, it’s good to have someone in the dressing room who can speak with them. There’s not a lot of us who can do that, and I’m proud of that”.