The 21-year-old was the latest Southampton academy graduate to be handed a first team chance, coming off the bench for his senior debut in the 2-0 win against Everton last weekend. N’Lundulu has been an impressive performer for the club’s youth sides, scoring five goals in ten appearances last term (Transfermarkt).
Hasenhuttl lauds latest talent off Saints’ production line
Southampton are a club with an excellent history of bringing quality young players through their academy and into the first team. N’Lundulu could well be the next player to make that step and the forward will be hoping that he can potentially challenge the likes of Che Adams and fellow academy graduate Michael Obafemi for a place alongside Danny Ings up front.
The 21-year-old has gained some experience playing against Football League sides in the EFL Trophy over the last few seasons. That will have provided him with some experience of the differences between youth team football and the competitive nature of first team action.
Speaking to the Daily Echo, Hasenhuttl claimed that N’Lundulu has all of the physical attributes needed to perform in the Premier League, while he also revealed he provides a different type of option to Southampton’s current forwards, suggesting he could have a key role to play this term.
The manager said said: “I wanted to give him the chance to show up for the first time. It was not so easy because we didn’t play so much anymore (in the game) – we tried to keep the ball – but he did a good job. He’s calm on the ball and still attacking hard.
“I liked him. It was good for him to get this message – we want to force these young players and he’s one of them. He’s a type of striker we don’t have in our side so far. He gives us physical options, can keep the ball very well.
“He’s also learned to work hard in front. This was something our youth have to learn and in the past month we were working a lot with the under-23s and with these teams.
“They are more and more adapted to what we are doing here in the first team and it is nice to see when they are coming out, they are now on a different level.”
N’Lundulu could play key part role for Saints
Southampton’s current first-choice forwards Ings and Adams have both enjoyed strong starts to the campaign, and as shown against Everton they are starting to form a really effective partnership for the Saints. However, Hasenhuttl is right that they lack that physical presence to hold up the ball and provide a different way to hurt opponents.
N’Lundulu could well play that role for them throughout the rest of the campaign, and the 21-year-old will be full of confidence and belief after earning the faith of Hasenhuttl. He has shown promising form in the club’s youth setup, so this season could be the one in which he makes his real breakthrough.
In other news, check out what this former Saints player had to say in criticism of the club over a key decision they made during his time at St Mary’s here.
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience