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van Dijk "proud" of Fonte

Virgil van Dijk says he's proud of his teammate Jose Fonte as the Saints captain prepares for the Euro 2016 semi-final against Wales.

Virgil van Dijk says that he's spoken to Jose Fonte to tell him how proud he is of him as the Saints captain prepares to take on Wales in the first semi-final of Euro 2016.

From dropping down to League One to join Southampton to starting for Portugal in their last two matches at Euro 2016 after a record breaking campaign with Saints, Jose Fonte's impressive rise shows no signs of stopping. The Saints captain is just one game away from being in with a chance of starting in the Euro 2016 final.

After joining back up with his teammates at Staplewood yesterday, Van Dijk says that he's spoken to Fonte to tell him how proud he is of the Saints captain's achievement.

He said: "I spoke to Jose the other day and told him how proud I was to see him play. It’s amazing to see them [Jose Fonte and Cedric] play and hopefully they get to the final."

van Dijk, who returned to pre-season a day later than his teammates due to being on international duty this summer, says that he is ready to go ahead of another hard season.

"We’re going to train a lot. There’s two good training camps coming up. It’s going to be good and I’m ready for it.

"There’s new players and coaches in the league. Everything is new and we start from the bottom again and we just need to work hard.

"We know it’s going to be hard but with the team we have, we can achieve good things and hopefully we can get even more quality in the team."

Saints' pre-season preparations will see them travel to the United States before a training camp in Holland where van Dijk will come up against one of his former clubs FC Groningen, in a match that the 24-year-old says will be "special".

"I’ve never been to America so that’s a very good thing for me. Just to get away with everyone is always good. To play against FC Groningen will be a special game for me as I’ve never been back there after I left."