Despite being regularly criticised by his own fans on Twitter for his performances, Wesley Hoedt has started every Premier League match for Southampton since Mark Hughes took charge of the club in March.
The Netherlands international, who earns £60,000-a-week according to Spotrac, was certainly seen as one of the scapegoats of the St Mary’s crowd following some disappointing performances alongside the likes of Jack Stephens and Maya Yoshida following Virgil van Dijk’s departure to Liverpool during the January transfer window.
Not particularly strong in the air, lapses of concentration and some questionable distribution often left the south coast outfit in trouble, before they eventually escaped relegation to the Championship – albeit the 24-year-old stood up and was counted when his team needed him in battles against Bournemouth, Everton and Swansea City in particular.
Despite the arrival of Jannik Vestergaard over the summer and a switch to four at the back rather than a five-man defence in recent matches, Hoedt has remained a regular with Hughes obviously feeling that he offers something positive – or at least more than Stephens, Yoshida or Jan Bednarek would.
The Dutchman also showed some composure and quality – proving that the confidence that has been lacking could be returning – to set Matt Targett away for his team’s second goal in the 2-0 win against Crystal Palace on Saturday to suggest that he should remain in the team, and his case was strengthened with a clean sheet to boot.
On the other hand, Stephens, Bednarek and Yoshida – the latter two in particular after some impressive displays at the 2018 World Cup – will all be champing at the bit to work their way into Hughes’ thoughts having kept a clean sheet in the 1-0 victory against Brighton and Hove Albion in the Carabao Cup.
So, Southampton fans, do you think Hughes should keep the faith with Hoedt? Let us know by voting below…