CEDRIC Soares admits he’ll have to adapt quickly to Portugal’s training methods and style of play ahead of their match with Italy tonight.

Saints’ left-back returned to his home country following the 1-1 draw with Watford last Saturday in order to be ready for this week’s practice sessions with the national side.

Portugal are currently top of their UEFA Nations League group as they have picked up maximum points from their first two matches.

After playing Italy, they will finish the campaign against Poland on Tuesday evening. 

And Cedric revealed it takes time to become familiar with the international set-up due to being so accustomed to the Premier League’s high standards.

“There are differences [in training],” Cedric explained.

“It’s not about quality, it’s more a different mentality in the players.

“The Premier League is a lot about intensity and every team wants to attack and defend and it’s a lot quicker going up and down.

“In the national team, you choose the moment more, which could mean keeping the ball a bit longer.

“It comes from the mentality of all the players – the whole unit.

“You don’t go there and just change your way of playing.

“Everyone around you has a different mentality and you need to adapt to them.”

Normally on international duty, Cedric would have to come up against Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in training.

However, the five-time Ballon d’Or isn’t in the squad for the UEFA Nations League games against Italy and Poland after being left out by Fernando Santos.

Despite Ronaldo’s absence from the side, Cedric believes that training against the Juventus player in the past has aided his own development as a defender.

The Portuguese full-back added: “He [Ronaldo] is the best.

“I enjoy every little moment I have in training playing with him, or against him.

“Sometimes in training it’s like, ‘what can you do?’ against him.

“When you play with him, you just have enjoy it because he is such a good player and you need to learn a lot from him.”

“Every time you play against difficult players, you will grow as a player.

“In the national team there is a very high level and it’s different.

“Because it’s different, you need to adapt and grow, which makes you a better player.”

The birth of the UEFA Nations League has seen the end of international teams only playing friendlies outside of qualifying for - or playing in - a major tournament. 

Its inception was heavily criticised at first, but Cedric believes it has been a success in its maiden year.

“I think it’s a competition that is coming at a time when it used to be a bit more quiet,” Cedric revealed.

“It is bringing us more competition between the different national teams which is nice.

“At least you aren’t just playing friendly after friendly without a purpose.

“For me, it’s a good and well organised competition.”