Ralph Hasenhuttl has inherited Mark Hughes’ signings and some of the moves made just are not up to scratch.
Hasenhuttl has given the squad a shake-up upon his appointment as Southampton manager. The Austrian has placed faith in youth such as Jan Bednarek and Yan Valery as well as recently providing opportunities to those who did not get a look in under Hughes, such as Angus Gunn.
A couple of Hughes’ moves in the summer, specifically Mohamed Elyounoussi and Jannik Vestergaard, have not proved their worth as of yet, despite costing an awful lot of money.
Vestergaard, particularly, is one player who is yet to step up to the plate under either boss. The Dane started the season as one of the first-choice centre-backs, but then only played once in the seven games prior to Hughes’ sacking.
Under Hasenhuttl, he has started every game bar one but he has been far from convincing. Despite being 6’5″, Vestergaard is often outjumped and outmuscled in his aerial battles, which is not ideal from someone with so much presence at the back.
As he plays on the left side of the back-three that has been instated in all games under Hasenhuttl, barring the first, if Matt Targett is beaten down the wing, Vestergaard’s large frame means he is often darted past as well as he is not the quickest off the mark.
The main reason he has featured so prominently is likely to be due to intelligence, as he can read the game relatively well, and his ball-playing ability as he is comfortable in possession and calm under pressure, which is a trait of Hasenhuttl’s sides.
However, the 26-year-old will need to step up his overall game very quickly, as lots of Saints fans have lost faith in Vestergaard already and it is hard to argue against that.
If he does not, then another option at centre-back should be preferred, or possibly Ryan Bertrand could be used at the left of the back three to provide some much need stability in the side.
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