Southampton forward Jay Rodriguez has hailed Tottenham Hotspur's Mauricio Pochettino, telling The Daily Telegraph he was "the best coach, best manager and best person" he has worked with.
Pochettino managed Rodriguez at Southampton from January 2013 until leaving for Spurs in May the following year, and Rodriguez scored 17 goals in 2013-14 during Pochettino's final season at St. Mary's.
That campaign ended badly for the forward after he ruptured ligaments in his right knee against Manchester City and he is only just getting back to his best now.
"Mauricio is the best coach, best manager and best person I've ever worked with," Rodriguez said ahead of Southampton's EFL Cup semifinal against Liverpool on Wednesday.
"He knows how much I appreciate what he has done and what he still does for me. He constantly speaks to me. It is nice to hear that he is still supporting me and his staff are the same. He just wanted to improve you as a player and a person.
"He was always seeing things in a game that you were weak at but he also gave you that belief that you are a good player. He was an unbelievable manager and a person."
Rodriguez scored twice in Southampton's 3-1 victory against Bournemouth last month, the second a brilliant long-range strike, and Pochettino revealed he had sent the forward a text after the game.
"I was very happy. I sent him a text," Pochettino said before Tottenham's 4-1 victory at Southampton on Dec. 28.
"I was happy to see him on the pitch again. He suffered a very bad injury and I remember, fresh in my mind, that day at Manchester City. He's a top player, a top man and we were happy to see him score against Bournemouth.
"Now though we will suffer him because he will be our enemy and our opponent. But I'm happy he's back to his level. He's a top person."
Rodriguez was repeatedly linked to Spurs in summer 2015 but Pochettino has refused to comment on the speculation.
"There were a lot of players linked with Tottenham at that moment," he said last month.