Gunn was sent out on loan by Southampton on the last day of the domestic transfer window, with the keeper arriving at Stoke after being surplus to requirements at St Mary’s. The 24-year-old had fallen behind both Alex McCarthy and the returning Fraser Forster in the pecking order and was keen to move away for more regular game-time.
Hasenhuttl outlines what he must see before offering loan players chance to return
Gunn had started last season as Southampton’s first-choice goalkeeper having impressed Hasenhuttl, who had labelled him as ‘fantastic’ after he produced an inspired performance in a draw against Chelsea. However, he conceded an average of 2.5 goals per game (Sofascore) in the Premier League last term before he was eventually dropped for McCarthy.
The 24-year-old had endured a frustrating start to his loan spell at Stoke also, with Adam Davies having kept him out of the side. However, the former Barnsley man is now injured, which gives Gunn the chance to step up to the number one position for the next few weeks.
Speaking in his press conference ahead of Southampton’s meeting with Aston Villa, Hasenhuttl suggested that the door is open for Gunn to make a return to the Saints next summer. However, he also revealed that he must earn that right by making progress at Stoke.
The Austrian said: “We cannot give him what he wants to get. So if we cannot give him time to play, then it was perfect for him to go and play somewhere else and develop his game. It was definitely the best choice he can make.
“In the end we hope that he gets a lot of time to play there and play good games.
“I’m really happy when you see players playing well on loan, from our side. Then I want to give everybody a chance to come back, but therefore they need to show up and they need to show that they develop their game.
“Because we are also moving forwards with our game and with our team, it’s not easy to come back to be honest. But never say never.”
Angus Gunn must rise to Hasenhuttl’s challenge
Hasenhuttl is not the sort of manager who will readily cast aside a player with potential such as Gunn, but it is clear the 24-year-old does not have the confidence at the moment to be the number one at a Premier League club. The ‘keeper still seems affected by his part in the Saints’ 9-0 humbling by Leicester last year, a defeat from which the club and most of the squad have moved on.
Gunn needs to show that he can regain some form and belief in his ability over the next few months whilst at Stoke. The chance to do that has been handed to him by Davies picking up an injury, so it is now in the loan ‘keeper’s hands to ensure he rises to the occasion. Were he to enjoy a promising campaign, then the door should rightly be open for him to come back into the fold at his parent club.
In other news, find out which Saints star took a huge gamble over the summer transfer window here.
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