Sadio Mane thought Southampton teammates didn’t want to pass to him, says Victor Wanyama
Although he has now gone on to success at Anfield, Mane was seen as something of an inconsistent player during his two seasons on the south coast.
He scored 25 goals for the club in 75 appearances before making a £34million move to Liverpool in the summer of 2016, when the fee was questioned by some.
Wanyama played with Mane for those two seasons at St Mary’s, and says that they became close on and off the pitch.
“At one point, Mane approached me and told me ‘Hi man, these guys do not want to pass the ball to me, can the two of us play closely? They don’t want me to score.’
“I reluctantly agreed and anytime I got the ball I would pass it to him though.
“I wanted to treat him right since he is a good and nice guy.”
Wanyama would eventually join him there, and these days is under the guidance of Thierry Henry at Montreal Impact.
He is in no doubt of Pochettino’s influence on his career though, and recalled when he came to watch him play for Celtic before signing him.
“Pochettino came and watched me in one of the games when we were playing against Motherwell,” he said.
“He came on a day I was playing as a centre-back due to injuries that had hit the team then.
“After the game, he pulled me aside and told me ‘How are you playing at centre-back? We thought you are a midfielder?’ and I replied that I am a midfielder indeed.
“Pochettino told me he was coming to buy me to help Southampton who were seriously struggling.”