ORIOL Romeu is trying to lead through his actions rather than his words.

Before the coronavirus pandemic brought a halt to football the Spaniard wasn’t getting the minutes on the pitch that he’d have wanted.

A midfield combination of James Ward-Prowse and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was preferred by Saints manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.

But, not so long ago, Hasenhuttl was praising Romeu for allowing the next generation of players to come through.

This led to Will Smallbone breaking into the first team and netting his first goals for the club.

Speaking before to the Daily Echo - before the enforced break – about how he is helping the youngsters, Romeu said: “It’s more doing than saying.

“It’s about how you are behaving and by doing the right things. If you want to be a good footballer, it isn’t good enough just turning up for the game to do your job because you are wasting the other five days in the week.

“Having that good dynamic and habits is going to help everyone, not just the young players but also the older ones.

“Everyone is old enough to make their decisions and they will know what they want to do.

“But they have to look at guys like Ryan and Longy and think why they’ve been here over five, six or seven years because they must be doing something right.

“That’s a good message for them.”

Saints have lost a host of senior players over the years which includes the likes of Jose Fonte and Maya Yoshida.

Romeu and Ryan Bertrand were at the club during the Ronald Koeman era and are now, arguably, two of the most experienced voices in the dressing room.

“As the time goes on the players that have been here a long time are getting fewer and fewer,” added the former Barcelona midfielder. “That’s normal, though. There aren’t many left from when I first joined.

“It’s good we show the other lads how difficult it is to play in the Premier League competing against all the teams and how you have to be in every single session.

“That’s also what the manager wants and we all know this is a good way of working and we need to keep that.

“Once you lose it, other teams get ahead of you.”

Hasenhuttl’s described Romeu as one of the best professionals he’s ever worked with.

A lot of this will be down to the way the former Chelsea man is dedicated to his craft but also aimed at the way he imparts his wisdom on the youngsters.

“They are very good kids and they all listen,” said Romeu.

“Will, Vokes and Valery all have a lot of potential and helping them out is crucial for them and for the team and for the future of the club.

“I think that’s very important.”

When Romeu talks about experience leaving the dressing room, you can’t look any further than former captain Yoshida.

The Japanese international ended his seven-and-a-half-year spell at St Mary’s back in January when he joined Italian side Sampdoria on loan until the end of the season which is also when his contract expires.

Romeu and Yoshida were close friends off the pitch and his departure led to the Spaniard having mixed emotions about it.

“It’s bittersweet,” explained Saints’ midfielder.

“We have been away together for holidays and have seen each other in Barcelona and other places.

“It’s a relationship that goes beyond football and beyond everything. I’m sure it’s a friendship that will last a long time.

“I’m happy for him because he wanted to have more game time and he’s going to be in a good league with a manager that wants him to be there.

“He also has a couple of friends there so I’m happy for him.

“But it’s hard to see friends going, even though this is football and you move because you have to. Some relationships will last longer than our football careers.

“That’s the main thing for me and him. I’m sad that he’s not here anymore but happy for him.”

Saints were on their way to play Liverpool when Yoshida got the call that he was subject to interest from Italy.

Because of this, he was unable to say goodbye to the Saints fans who had supported him throughout the years.

Speaking about this, Romeu added: “Sometimes things move so quickly it’s hard to appreciate what people have done.

“Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen myself all the things he has done for the club and for everyone around here.

“The best thing he can leave is his reputation, his image and all the other work he has done.

“I’m sure he’s going to be happy with everything he’s done here, and everyone will feel lucky to have spent some time with him and feel the same way I do.”