Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Saints: Jones can help Bella-Kotchap explode amid World Cup call up

Southampton have just today confirmed that Nathan Jones will be the successor to Ralph Hasenhuttl, with the turnaround between managers just two days.

The hierarchy of the south coast outfit were decisive in appointing their new man, but the former Luton Town manager does boast a system that strays from the all-action aspirations held by their Austrian ex-boss.

Was Nathan Jones the right appointment?





Having led the Hatters to an unlikely playoff push last season in the Championship, this success was underpinned by the 53-year-old’s three-at-the-back system with bombarding wing backs.

Whilst the recent goal-scoring form of Romain Perraud will likely benefit from this system, arguably the defender who will improve the most is Armel Bella-Kotchap, who has excelled since his summer move.

The German, who was recently selected for his nation’s World Cup squad, a decision that was noted as a “big surprise” by Manuel Veth, has boasted a 7.00 average SofaScore rating this campaign at the back for a side that has conceded 24 goals.

His defensive prowess and ability on the ball make him a fine Premier League player already, and with the added security of another central defender, he could be turned into a fine ball-playing defender who could be the catalyst for many Saints attacks.

The £13m-rated star ranks in the top 1% for interceptions over the last 365 days when compared to positional peers across Europe’s top five leagues, and with an added impetus to step out of defence knowing he has another body behind him could see the ball stolen and distributed whilst the opposition is stuck in broken play.

1 of 15

Who scored Southampton's first goal of 2021?

With journalist Mark White also outlining the “technical quality” that Bella-Kotchap and plenty of other mid-table centre-back partnerships possess, the 20-year-old would surely have the ability to find a pinpoint pass too.

Jones’ sides have often boasted a verticality in their offensive play, looking to move the ball quickly once it has been won. This can be showcased best through Luton’s average possession, which is just 43.2%.

The 6 foot 2 goliath has already taken to life in England with ease, but with the principles upheld by the incoming manager, as well as his surprising World Cup nomination, it could see him truly explode and reach the heights that some former Southampton centre-backs have done before him.