Southampton face Leicester City in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday evening and Ralph Hasenhuttl should consider handing a start to Che Adams, as he could prove to be the game-changer against the Foxes.
The former Sheffield United man has been left on the bench for recent games against Burnley and West Brom, despite showing some impressive form before the international break, with goals against Sheffield United, Manchester City and Brighton.
The Austrian manager assured fans that leaving the striker out against Burnley was a purely tactical decision to try and exploit Sean Dyche’s side, but then he left him on the bench again West Brom last time out, when the Saints produced one of their worst displays of the season in a 3-0 defeat at the Hawthorns.
Other than James Ward-Prowse’s missed penalty, the Scotland international arguably produced Southampton’s best opportunity of that game, as he dragged a shot narrowly wide after coming on as a substitute, and looked far more dangerous than Theo Walcott, who had started ahead of him.
When Southampton were at their best early in the season, Adams and Danny Ings had formed an excellent partnership up front and if reunited, they could cause Leicester’s defence a lot of problems with their pace and pressing on Sunday evening.
Adams also offers more physicality than the likes of Walcott and Nathan Redmond, who has been featuring as a striker in recent weeks, with the 24-year-old striker averaging 1.4 aerials won per game in the Premier League this season, compared to Walcott’s 0.6 and Redmond’s 0.4.
Therefore, the £16.2m-rated forward can offer the Saints an out ball against Brendan Rodgers’ side as he is more likely to be able to hold the ball up and bring others into play, which is something Southampton really lacked against West Brom.
Earlier in the season, after his excellent start to the new campaign, Hasenhuttl suggested that Adams had gone from “zero to hero” at Southampton, with reference to his lack of goals for the club in his debut season.
If Southampton need a hero on Sunday then they should turn to Adams, as he could prove to be the game-changer against Leicester with his pace, physicality and goal threat. Should he and Ings both produce excellent displays, then Hasenhuttl’s side have a great chance of reaching the final.