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Southampton: Hasenhuttl must unleash Ibrahima Diallo amid Ward-Prowse body blow

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse had dropped out of international duty with England due to illness.

Even though there is still a week to go until Southampton are back in Premier League action with an away clash against league strugglers Norwich City, there’s every chance that the skipper may not be fit enough to play at Carrow Road next week depending on the nature and severity of the condition currently afflicting him.

With this possibility in mind, this could provide one other Southampton midfielder with a great chance of showing Ralph Hasenhuttl what he can bring to the party.

Opportunity knocks

Despite appearing in nine of the 11 Premier League games Southampton have played so far this season, 22-year-old midfielder Ibrahima Diallo has only started two of them, the first being their 1-0 win over Leeds United followed by their 2-2 draw against Burnley, completing the full 90 minutes on both occasions.

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These two games were the two that Ward-Prowse missed as a result of the red card he picked up during their 3-1 defeat against Chelsea last month, proving that Hasenhuttl has made no issue in turning to Diallo in Ward-Prowse’s absence, which he could well do again if the Englishman is not fit enough to play against Norwich.

After earning himself a decent overall match rating of 7/10 for his performance in the Leeds match according to SofaScore, Diallo then followed that put by providing an assist in the draw against Burnley, proving that he can be a useful figure for the Saints when called upon.

Do you think Diallo should start against Norwich?

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With Hasenhuttl recently describing Diallo, who is currently valued at £13.5m according to Transfermarkt, as a “very physical player” who has a “very good amount of ability with the ball”, the Austrian should have no issues with including the midfielder in his starting XI against Norwich if Ward-Prowse isn’t able to play.

Looking beyond that, given Diallo’s young age and the fact that fellow Saints midfielder Oriol Romeu has now hit the age of 30 and has his current contract at St. Mary’s set to expire in the summer of 2023, there’s every possibility that Diallo could go on to become Romeu’s long-term heir at the club if the Spaniard leaves at the end of his deal and if Diallo can continue to make the most out of any opportunities he gets to start for the Saints.

In other news: “Intelligent” £30k-p/w Saints dynamo proved that he can be Ralph’s main man

Article title: Southampton: Hasenhuttl must unleash Ibrahima Diallo amid Ward-Prowse body blow

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