SAINTS midfielder Oriol Romeu revealed how he once reached out to Spanish superstar Xavi in a bid to develop his game.

Having come through the youth ranks at Barcelona and trained with the World Cup winner, who is now the manager of the Catalan giants, former Spain under-21 international Romeu sent Xavi a message asking him how to improve his consistency.

Xavi’s rich honours list as a player includes no fewer than eight La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues.

Speaking about the midfield maestro on Graham Hunter’s Big Interview podcast, Romeu said: “I was feeling that I was playing good and enjoying myself but there were a couple of actions during the game. I was giving the ball away too easily or I was not fully on it.

“Me, alongside another guy who helps me to analyse games – tactically I think he’s a very bright guy.

“We thought ‘which player can we watch in order to get to understand how you can be fully focused during 90 minutes?’.

“Then, of course, Xavi came into our head. He was a player that… I can’t remember him missing a pass or having a bad game. He was unreal.

“We went and watched some of his games but then I thought, why don’t I just ask him? I’ve got his number, I’ve talked to him a couple of times and he’s always been very helpful. He’s a very good guy.

“I dropped him a message. Asked that question ‘what can I do in order to be always there, to have that consistency during all my season, game-in, game out?’.

“His answer was very clear but very honest. He said that he hated giving balls away. Even in training.

“He said he would come out in training and think ‘I’m not going to give any balls away today. Even in rondos, even in ball possessions where you have a lot of pressure, that I was in the right position, I was making that first touch perfectly. I was always giving the pass in the right area with the right intention’.

“(He said) during the games, that just followed me through. That mindset of making sure during the training sessions, he said I was always very critical with myself. He even said ‘sometimes I was even too critical with myself but that allowed me to always be that consistent’.

“The fact of hating giving the ball away, hating making a mistake kept him active. Kept him always on his toes, kept him always wanting to do the right thing.

“Always having to receive in the right areas, put the ball in the right place and with the right intention, it’s more unlikely that you give the ball away.”

Romeu has gone on to make more than 250 appearances for Saints since signing for the club in 2015.

He could be involved when Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men host Liverpool in the Premier League on Tuesday.

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