Maritzburg United defender Rushine De Reuck believes the football education he received at Portuguese side Pacos de Ferreira under current AS Roma coach Paulo Fonseca has shaped him into the player he is today.
De Reuck has been one of the standout defenders in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) this season, with some reports linking him with Mamelodi Sundowns and Orlando Pirates.
The defender credits the improvement of his game to the time he spent with Primera Liga side Pacos de Ferreira between 2014 and 2015.
Although he was training with Pacos de Ferreira's B side, first-team coach and Mozambique-born Fonseca would dedicate his time to the reserve team.
“I learnt a lot of things in Portugal, especially the importance of tactical awareness. I can see that all the things I learnt there are helping me at Maritzburg this season,” De Reuck told Sowetan Live.
“I was coached by Paulo Fonseca, a top coach with a good heart. He always pushed me. I am happy to see him coaching Roma now.”
Highlighting he is enjoying a good season, De Reuck has started all Maritzburg’s 24 league games this season, while also featuring in four Cup games.
He is part of a Maritzburg defence which has conceded the second-least number of league goals so far this term, a record they share with leaders Kaizer Chiefs and Bidvest Wits.
His steely showing in the Team of Choice defence has generated talk of his being currently the best defender in the league.
“I am very humbled by hearing people saying I should be the Defender of the Season, but I don't look into that too much because to me the most important thing is to achieve as a team,” said De Reuck.
“Our goal as a team is to end the season in the top four. I just want to help the team, individual goals come second to me.”
De Reuck’s performances have however not seen him being considered for the South Africa national team by coach Molefi Ntseki.