Despite being something of a regular in the back three towards the end of last season as Southampton retained their Premier League status by the skin of their teeth, Jan Bednarek has found first-team minutes hard to come by this term and did little to improve his chances with his latest display for Poland.
Well, when Mark Hughes came in and switched to a system that incorporated three centre-backs in March – as well as a three-match suspension for Jack Stephens – the 22-year-old came into the starting XI and impressed before he was taken off in their crucial 1-0 win against Swansea City after suffering a blow to the head.
The addition of Jannik Vestergaard in the summer and Hughes often deciding to play with four at the back means that first-term minutes have been hard to come by for Bednarek, and he didn’t make his first Premier League start of the campaign until the 3-0 defeat against Chelsea at St Mary’s last weekend.
However, he was taken off at half-time but had the ideal opportunity to prove that he deserves a second successive start when he was named in Poland’s XI to face Portugal on Thursday.
The 22-year-old looked far from convincing as his country shipped three goals against their opponents, and he certainly doesn’t looked to have helped his own cause with the south coast outfit.
Given Wesley Hoedt continues to struggle and Vestergaard was dropped to the bench against the Blues last weekend, Bendarek’s best chance to come into and cement his spot in the starting XI under Hughes looks to be available right now.
The Welshman won’t have been impressed with what the reports from his latest display though, and he may well find himself back on the substitutes’ bench when Saints face Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium a week today.