After a poor season which saw the club fighting relegation, Mark Hughes has the job of taking the Saints back towards the top 10 following a transfer window where the club spent close to £60 million.
Following a tough start to the season, Southampton have now managed to string two wins together, although one was in the League Cup. The Saints lost 2-1 to both Leicester City and Everton in their three opening games of the season although following so many new additions, it will take time for the team to bed in.
One of the new additions to the club was Jannick Vestergaard who was bought to replace Yoshida and partner Wesley Hoedt in the middle of the defence.
Signed for £15 million from Lazio, ever since he joined the club, the Netherlands international has been a prominent member of Southampton’s starting XI.
During his time in Lazio, in tandem with fellow Dutchman Stephan de Vrij, Hoedt established himself as one of the better young defenders in the league albeit one that didn’t always catch the headlines. Initially, when he joined Southampton, he was once again partnered with another Dutchman (Virgil van Dijk) and the two formed a fairly solid defensive partnership.
Following van Dijk’s departure, Hoedt became a leading figure at the back and this season he seems to have been given a solid defensive partner in Jannik Vestergaard. Like his new teammate, Hoedt is a physically imposing defender, who can at times be caught out due to his lack of pace.
At 24, Hoedt is still learning the game and still is yet to enter his prime. Not only does he lack pace but at times he can be clumsy when defending one on one and will be targeted by the opposition. With the ball at his feet, Hoedt is a classy defender and has the ability to play out from deep much like van Dijk albeit not as good.
At such a young age, however, Hoedt still has plenty of his career ahead of him. Crucially, he’s now starting for a solid team that should be pushing for a top half finish. The exposure at such a tough league is only going to help his development and could potentially lead to a move for the Dutchman.
For the time being, Hoedt needs to stay at Southampton and develop his game. In the near future however, Hoedt should be looking to move away to a bigger side, he certainly has the potential to do so.
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