Mauricio Pochettino pays tribute to Manchester United's former England internationals Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand

Southampton take on United this evening

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino has hailed the professionalism of evergreen Manchester United duo Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand as he prepares to face the former England men again, more than a decade after tackling them on the pitch with Argentina at the 2002 World Cup.

Pochettino was part of the Pumas side beaten 1-0 by England in Japan, where his foul on Michael Owen conceded the penalty from which David Beckham secured a famous victory.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, with 34-year-old Ferdinand no longer part of the international side under Roy Hodgson and Scholes, 38, already having come out of retirement once.

However, speaking ahead of tonight's Barclays Premier League clash at Old Trafford, Pochettino feels both men deserve the utmost respect for continuing to play at the highest level with United.

"I am not surprised by their professionalism and how they have maintained themselves over the years," said the 40-year-old, who will be looking to secure his first win since replacing Nigel Adkins.

"I know they are amazing athletes, they take care of their bodies and their fitness.

"As a manager, I am very happy to see them still playing, it makes me proud to see players can last that long, which is all down to their professionalism."

Former Espanyol coach Pochettino used the break in domestic action to take his players away on a short training camp in Spain, which he believes helped the players and new staff bond.

While Pochettino is determined to stamp his own mark on the team, the Argentinian remains conscious of what the squad had achieved before his arrival.

"We have our own work ethic and our own philosophy as to where we want to take the club," he said.

"We have goals and ambition, we want to work for the team to achieve those goals. However, that does not mean we want to be anything contrary to what was being done before, it is not about that.

"It is more about our philosophy, how we want to take the team forward and how we want to achieve those goals."

With defender Jose Fonte still missing through injury, new signing Vegard Forren could be set for his debut at Old Trafford after joining from Norwegian side Molde.

Pochettino hopes the 24-year-old, who has not played a competitive match since December, will settle quickly into the tempo of the Premier League.

"We are very pleased Forren has decided to come here. He is a player who is going to cover certain necessities of the squad," Pochettino said.

"The most important aspect now is he adapts well to the team, is up to speed and will be able to compete with us."

Southampton are currently four points clear of the relegation zone and travel to struggling Wigan on Saturday before hosting champions Manchester City on February 9.

Pochettino remains confident his current group of players have what it takes to avoid being dragged into a dogfight for survival.

"I am happy with the quality of the squad and am confident we can do well in the league," he said.

PA

Sport
Premier League Live
footballLIVE Follow all the Premier League action as it happens
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + echSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
peopleTV star had been reported missing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone