When Oriol Romeu was ruled out through injury a few weeks ago, there was perhaps concern amongst Southampton fans that the Spanish midfielder would prove nearly impossible to replace.
However, summer signing Ibrahima Diallo has performed brilliantly in recent fixtures alongside James Ward-Prowse in midfield, which will give manager Ralph Hasenhuttl a real selection headache when the former Chelsea man returns from injury.
The defensive-midfielder has been struggling with a muscle injury and is expected to make his return this month, however, he may struggle to oust Diallo from the first-team based on his current form.
The 21-year-old looked solid on his first start for the South Coast club against Fulham in December, before being a huge part of the Saints keeping out champions Liverpool at St Mary’s earlier this month.
Although Southampton struggled as a collective against Leicester City, they bounced back this weekend with a 1-0 win against Arsenal in the FA Cup, with Diallo once again impressive, with Hampshire Live giving him an 8/10 rating for his performance.
When Romeu eventually does make his return, it may be difficult for Hasenhuttl to justify dropping Diallo, considering how defensively solid the Saints have looked in recent fixtures, with five clean sheets in their last six games.
The Austrian manager will be delighted with the way in which the young midfielder has stepped up to the plate in the absence of Romeu and he can feel safe in the knowledge that the summer signing can be relied upon to do a job in this Saints team when needed.