Southampton head into tonight’s clash with Newcastle searching for an answer to last weekend’s humiliation at the hands of Aston Villa, and after having an excellent last few months under manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, the game will be a real test of character.
It’s expected that just two changes will be made for the match, with Mohammed Salisu returning from injury in place of Jack Stephens, and Kyle Walker-Peters to replace Romain Perraud in the starting line-up too.
However, one more change that the Saints boss should consider making is dropping Mohammed Elyounoussi in favour of the more experienced and reliable Nathan Redmond, who was left on the bench last time out.
The Birmingham City youth team graduate, valued at £16.2m by Transfermarkt, has just recently returned from a short month-long spell out on the sidelines, after suffering an ankle injury during a training session.
In a ten minute cameo against West Ham last week in the FA Cup, Redmond had one shot on target and accurately delivered one cross, demonstrating his match sharpness despite having missed over four weeks of football.
Elyounoussi, in comparison, failed to successfully deliver one cross or have a shot on target and looked lost at times against Villa on Saturday.
Redmond needs to be given another opportunity in this Saints side which has massively improved particularly over the last few months, as with his ability but more importantly experience, not only will those around him improve, but having another professional and mature head in the team will help them to put the weekend’s result behind them and bounce back.
His work rate and teamwork makes him an invaluable asset to this high-intensity Hasenhuttl side, with former teammate Danny Ings once suggesting it didn’t matter so much when the winger doesn’t contribute as many goals or assists, saying: “Redders has got absolute quality and everybody knows that, but the stuff he did off the ball today was unbelievable.”
Having created five Premier League goals though this season, the 28-year-old has demonstrated on a number of occasions this campaign that he is still a creative threat, housing the ability to terrify teams from a creative standpoint. That differs considerably from Elyounoussi who has just one assist to his name.