Hasenhüttl set to call on youngsters again

By SFC Media time Fri 15 Jan Leicester City v Saints
Photo by Matt Watson | Ralph Hasenhüttl

Southampton's young players will likely have another opportunity to shine this weekend when the team visits Leicester City, with Ralph Hasenhüttl saying he expects to call on a number of them once again for the Premier League match.

The Saints boss included 11 Academy graduates in his squad for the memorable 1-0 win over Liverpool last time out, with the bench largely made up of current regulars in the B team, and the likes of Dan Nlundulu, Nathan Tella and Yan Valery all finishing the game on the pitch.

Almost two weeks have passed since that special night at St Mary's, but that has not meant injury troubles have eased much following an intense Christmas period.

we knew this season we can have moments where we have a lot of young players in the squad. the more they learn in the youth, the easier it is for me.

ralph hasenhüttl
southampton manager

Danny Ings, who scored the winner at Leicester last season, is likely out for the game following a period of self-isolation after testing positive for Covid-19, while Nathan Redmond, Moussa Djenepo, Jannik Vestergaard, Michael Obafemi and Tella are all sidelined through injury, with Oriol Romeu also a doubt as he looks to return from the knock that saw him miss the Liverpool match.

It means Hasenhüttl will likely lean heavily on a number of youngsters at King Power Stadium this Saturday.

That is no cause for concern for him, though. With a revamp of the professional development phase in the summer turning the Under-23s into a B team that is more closely aligned to the workings of Hasenhüttl's squad, and the development of a Southampton playbook to ensure the same philosophies are in place throughout the age groups, the manager is confident the players are now far better prepared when called upon.

"It was important that we stepped good in the week, with intense work on the pitch, with a lot of young players involved in the sessions," he said. 

"They must immediately show up and help us get high quality in the sessions and then hopefully we find the right eleven for the weekend.

"With a few injuries we have at the moment in a few positions, the chance is big that also young players get a chance from the beginning. So we have some issues because of the intense time we had over Christmas, and now we must find a squad that is competitive.

"There was a reason why we tried in the summer to reconstruct all the Academy and the Under-23 team and the way they should play, because we knew that in this season it can be that we have moments where we have a lot of young players in the first-team squad and then we have no time to teach them what they have to do – they have to have it and they have to know what it is about, and the more they learn in the youth about this, the easier it is for me to bring them in and this is now the moment where we do it, and this is ok."

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