Southampton centre-back Jannik Vestergaard was handed his first Premier League since the end of September in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Manchester United at St Mary’s, but ultimately failed to take the chance that he was given by now former manager Mark Hughes.
The likes of Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens had been preferred ahead of the giant defender following a disappointing display in the 2-0 defeat against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux in September, but individual errors from Wesley Hoedt combined with an impressive showing in the Carabao Cup defeat to Leicester City last week saw him get the nod against the Red Devils.
The Denmark international lined up alongside Stephens and Yoshida in a back three with Hoedt only making the substitutes’ bench, and he would have been keen to make a big impression having expressed his frustration that he hadn’t been playing previously.
It seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so against a United side that are far from their best and struggling in front of goal, and the 26-year-old was set to make his mark as he and his teammates kept Jose Mourinho’s men quiet and raced into a 2-0 lead.
However, the tides soon turned and Vestergaard was caught out of position and beaten far too easily by Romelu Lukaku for the visitors’ first goal, with Ander Herrera equalising soon after.
While the great Dane’s statistics during the match don’t make for awful reading considering he won one tackle, made four interceptions and five clearances, as per WhoScored, his positioning was particularly woeful and he struggled with the movement of Lukaku and Marcus Rashford in attack.
The 6ft 6in centre-back may have won three aerial duels but he perhaps should have won more with the height that he has, while his distribution was often lacking as only one of his four long balls were successful.
While whoever Southampton’s new manager is shouldn’t write off the summer signing just yet, he has an awful long way to go to show that he should be a regular starter for the club, and his performance on Saturday will have been particularly well received by Hoedt ahead of trips to Tottenham Hotspur and Cardiff City this week.
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