Southampton youngsters Yan Valery and Michael Obafemi made their full debuts for the club in the Carabao Cup defeat against Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Tuesday night.
The former was given a chance at right wing-back with Cedric Soares on the substitutes’ bench, while the latter was handed the lone striker role and supported closely by Nathan Redmond.
Both teenagers impressed as the side kept a clean sheet, confounding the odds on football betting sites limited, before losing on penalties, and surely must be at the forefront of manager Mark Hughes’ mind ahead of the visit of Manchester United to St Mary’s in the Premier League on Saturday evening.
Saints fans on Twitter have been calling for Valery to get a chance ahead of the disappointing Cedric on the right-hand side, and the 19-year-old certainly didn’t let them or the team down with his showing against Claude Puel’s men.
The Frenchman is quick and willing to get forward, while he showed his defensive strength and also won plenty of headers – one of the main weak points of his Portuguese teammate’s game.
Meanwhile, the 5ft 7in tall Obafemi has impressed from the bench in recent weeks and was given his opportunity ahead of Charlie Austin and Manolo Gabbiadini with Danny Ings and Shane Long absent, and he again made an impact and should have got himself on the score-sheet.
Playmaker FC’s Matchday with Max caught up with Jamaica’s women’s team. See what happened when he met the history makers in the video below…
Having won one game all season and none yet at St Mary’s, the Welshman should be ready to take a gamble when Jose Mourinho’s team come down south at the weekend.
Should Ings be absent through injury, Obafemi would be a far better choice than Austin up top as his pace and movement – something the former QPR man has very little of – would cause the United backline plenty of problems.
Meanwhile, one of the visitors’ main threats on the south coast on Saturday could well be Anthony Martial, and given he is not only quick but also isn’t the smallest of attackers, pitting him against his France compatriot in Valery could be an inspired call.