This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Southampton defender Jan Bednarek was in top form for Poland over the weekend.
The Saints have endured a tricky start to the 2019/20 campaign, winning just two games in the Premier League and lying 19th, three points off safety.
The centre-back has played in every single top-flight game; Southampton have conceded 29 goals, more than any other club in the league.
Nevertheless, Bednarek played 90 minutes as his country beat Israel 2-1 in a Euro 2020 qualifier.
Per SofaScore, he made a total of three clearances, blocked two shots, made four interceptions and won two tackles; he was never dribbled past.
Bednarek had a total of 65 touches throughout the game, won four ground duels and was also fouled once.
This was a remarkably stoic performance from a player who has struggled throughout the campaign and Saints fans will be hoping it can be replicated this weekend.
Southampton have a very good centre-back on their hands but, of course, they are conceding goals and have the leakiest defence in the league.
Against Israel – not the best opposition possible, but still, one can only play the team in front of them – Bednarek, who is valued at £13.5m by Transfermarkt, turned in an all-action performance.
He can step out of defence to win the ball, put his body on the line, and is good at reading the game too.
All he needs is a bit of confidence and Southampton will have to hope that this game has helped with that.
Clearly, there is a player in there who can help shore up the Saints’ defence, provided he can repeat this showing week in, week out.
They play Arsenal at the Emirates this weekend; it remains to be seen if Bednarek can build on this promising performance.