Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl has described young winger Josh Sims as perhaps the biggest surprise during his time in charge of the club.
Sims has once again burst back into the first-team in recent weeks, helping to spark the turnaround victory against Tottenham from the bench, before another couple of substitute appearances were followed by a starring role in last Saturday’s 3-1 win over Wolves.
ralph hasenhüttlthis guy is really from zero to hero i think in a very short time.
on josh sims
It is a far cry from earlier in the season, when the 22-year-old was on loan at Championship club Reading, where he started only five league games before returning to Saints in January.
“I think this is maybe the biggest surprise so far since I’m here,” Hasenhüttl told reporters in his press conference ahead of the team’s trip to Newcastle this weekend.
“This guy is really from zero to hero I think in a very short time. He was walking through an interesting time here, was on loan, came back and at first I didn’t know how to use him, how to handle him.
“I saw a little bit of quality, but I did not know what is the best position for him, what are his biggest strengths and then you could see he has the quality of these deep runs and if you need this way of playing football he can be important for you.
“Then, suddenly, a very good training session in front of the Tottenham game and then thinking about maybe for substitutes to give him a chance on the bench, brought him on at half-time and he had a fantastic second half and was the key why we turned the table on this game.
“Now, that’s how it works in football. If you put something positive in the mind of the manager the chances rise that you play from the beginning.
“Last time he had the first chance to play from the beginning and he grabbed his chance with both hands.
“It was a very offensive XI I took against Wolverhampton from the beginning, with a little bit less experience, you see Oriol was on the bench, for example, and Longy stood out although he scored against Liverpool, so it was a very tough decision.
“He grabbed this chance with both hands and now he’s in and has also showed in the training sessions that I can count on him.
“That makes it very difficult for Stuie because he’s also training very well at the moment, and for Moi the same. We have a few number tens now and he’s in front of them.
“I think that shows what is possible in football and how quick things are changing. That’s a good signal for everybody that the manager is looking at the quality in the training sessions and then if you get the chance you have to grab it.”