Southampton defender Ryan Bertrand has urged teams to take inspiration from Leicester City’s season and challenge the Premier League big boys.
The Foxes will become top flight champions for the first time in their history with a win at Manchester United on Sunday, and Saints defender Bertrand is full of praise for the club who have made a mockery of pre-season predictions they would be relegated under new boss Claudio Ranieri.
Bertrand told talkSPORT “If you look at see what Leicester have done, it gives everyone hope and real ambition to think why can’t we do what Leicester are doing?
“It’s what makes the Premier League fantastic. And with the new money coming in, teams will invest in their scouting system and get the run on the bigger teams.
“The playing field is becoming more level than ever, and that’s fantastic for football fans, and for letting teams know we can go to the big teams and go for points.
“In years gone by, it would be ‘if you lost 2-0 it’s not too bad’ but teams now are having real go.”
The 26-year-old Londonder moved to the south coast two years ago and despite winning the Champions League with former club Chelsea, Bertrand has no regrets moving to St Mary’s.
He added: “I’m really enjoying my football at Southampton. It’s a stable club, good morals, the fans are fantastic and I’m playing with fantastic players. The manager [Ronald Koeman] just tops it off, he allows me to express myself.
“The manager is very laid back in a good sense, he’s been there and done major things in his career too. You can feel that aura and there’s no need to scream and shout, he has a lot of trust in his players.
The 26-year-old full-back has impressed this season, forcing his way back into the England squad, and he is hopeful of making the 23-man party for Euro 2016 in France.
“England are really blessed in all positions with players in form,” Bertrand continued.
“Going into the opening game, regardless who starts, we should have players really firing and deserving of their place.
“Over the coming weeks I’ll be doing all I can to get on the plane.”
Ryan Bertrand has launched the “Footiemoji” app for football fans that features branded emojis for teams and players. Available through the Apple Store.