Mauricio Pochettino has paid tribute to the professionalism of Manchester United duo Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand.
The new Southampton manager played against the former England internationals more than a decade ago at the 2002 World Cup in Japan when his foul on Michael Owen conceded the penalty from which David Beckham secured a famous victory over Argentina.
And now he is preparing to be reunited with them as a manager when he takes his team to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Wednesday night.
"I am not surprised by their professionalism and how they have maintained themselves over the years,'' the 40-year-old said.
"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."
Defender Vegard Forren, a new signing from Norwegian side Molde, could be in line to make his Southampton debut against United due to Jose Fonte's absence through injury and Pochettino is confident the 24-year-old will be able to handle the tempo despite having not played a competitive game since December.
"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." Pochettino was parachuted in to replace former manager Nigel Adkins but insists he is not in a hurry to make his mark on the team's playing style, and is happy to build on the foundations laid by his predecessor for now.
"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 ambitions, 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. `"I am happy with the quality of the squad and am confident we can do well in the league."