Southampton have had varying success since Ralph Hasenhuttl took the helm in December, although one thing is for certain – the Austrian has been a huge upgrade on Mark Hughes, whom he replaced at the end of 2018.
The former RB Leipzig boss has got the Saints playing a good system that will reap rewards in time, while he has also got the best out of Hughes’ fringe players like Jan Bednarek. He has placed a huge amount of faith in Yan Valery, who has in turn repaid him.
The former academy man scored his first goal for the St Mary’s Stadium outfit – and some goal it was – in the unfortunate 3-2 loss to Manchester United on the weekend, and he has made Saints fans forget all about the loaned-out Cedric Soares, who has not made a good start at Inter Milan.
Everyone loves a young player who breaks through to the first XI and makes the starting spot their own, and there could be more prospects on their way for Hasenhuttl, if the success of the Under-23’s is anything to go by.
The Saints’ development side progressed to the semi-finals of the prestigious Premier League International Cup on Wednesday night thanks to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Spanish outfit Villarreal.
Goals from Will Smallbone and Tom O’Connor were enough to see the young Saints through and boss Radhi Jaidi was ecstatic after the crucial victory, saying:
“A great win. A great performance.
“They showed a huge amount of will to achieve something for themselves and for the club.
“They did it tonight. Credit to their concentration levels at the end. They showed a huge amount of commitment and desire.”
The indoor football skills in the video below have to be seen to be believed…
The result will be welcome news to Hasenhuttl, who has already shown his willingness in bringing through starlets from the academy to the first team – will any of the impressive Southampton Under-23’s become the Austrian’s next Valery by making the step up?