Southampton will not rush key man’s return to action

According to reports in the Southern Daily Echo, Southampton won’t rush captain Virgil van Dijk back from his injury.

What’s the story, then?

Well, the Dutch centre-back has been out since January when he picked up an injury in the 3-0 win against Leicester City at St Mary’s, but the club have remained coy on how long exactly the influential defender will be out for.

The story in the Daily Echo suggests that the club want Van Dijk to fully recover before they bring him back into the starting XI, in order to avoid a recurrence of the problem.

Will he be back before the end of the season?

The club aren’t putting a timescale on the 25-year-old’s return, and as such it is hard to say when he will return to first team action.

However, with the club being so cautious and with little to play for over the remainder of the season, he might not play again this term in order to ensure that he is fully fit and ready for pre-season.

Are Saints reasonably covered at the back, then?

They are now, yes.

With Van Dijk’s injury and Jose Fonte’s departure to West Ham, Saints supporters could hardly believe their eyes when the January transfer window slammed shut with no new centre-back arriving at St Mary’s.

However, they quickly resolved the issue by bringing in free agent Martin Caceres, and with the Uruguayan, Maya Yoshida, Jack Stephens and Florin Gardos as available options, Claude Puel certainly has enough cover in the position.