Hoedt starting to fill van Dijk’s void but lack of physicality is still concerning

When Wesley Hoedt signed for Southampton in the summer, he must have been disappointed to discover Virgil van Dijk wouldn’t be moving to Liverpool. In an ideal world, he’d be the Dutchman’s regular centre-back partner, but it was always clear Saints signed the 6 foot 2 star from Lazio with the intention of him stepping into van Dijk’s almighty void.

Accordingly, we probably haven’t seen the best of Hoedt during his time in England. In fact, he’s struggled to hold down a regular berth in the starting XI, making only 14 appearances in the Premier League. But with van Dijk finally completing his move to Anfield and Maya Yoshida absent through injury, Hoedt was given a chance to prove himself against the Premier League’s top marksman on Sunday, Harry Kane, as Tottenham travelled to St. Mary’s.

While the England international got on the scoresheet by heading home a corner, the game marked one of Hoedt’s best performances yet for Saints, playing a key role in keeping Kane quiet in open play and stopping a usually rampant Tottenham attack from hitting top gear. Across the ninety minutes, he made four tackles, two interceptions, five clearances and one block – a decent return from a testing fixture.

And yet, Hoedt’s weaknesses still stand out, particularly his limited physicality for a Premier League centre-half. The six-cap Netherlands international isn’t the tallest or the most powerful and tellingly, he didn’t win a single aerial duel against Spurs. Although that may seem overly critical, especially as Tottenham aren’t a particularly direct side, it highlights how Hoedt still needs to further adapt to the English game – a lack of strength and aerial dominance compared to Premier League strikers will cost him dearly over the course of a whole season.

So, Southampton fans, do you rate Hoedt as a good signing or a transfer flop? Let us know by voting below…