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A Dose Of Realism Needed With the Outgoing Loan Deals
Friday, 24th Aug 2018 09:33

I have seen a lot of indignant comments on social media this week regarding the players potentially going out on loan,it is time to take a few steps back and look at why these players are going out on loan.

A couple of comments I saw on social media this week led me to believe that the air of negativity that is surrounding the club at the moment is leading some to lose sight of what the club is actually trying to do and the status of some of the players in the squad.

"Great little player the club should not let him go" was the first comment and the second "Great player with an eye for goal".

The first comment concerned Harrison Reed a player who for his battling spirit enjoys a certain reputation with Saints fans, but saying that he should not go out on loan shows that the person making the quote has perhaps lost a little bit of perspective here, as much as I like Harrison Reed, the reality is that in the grand picture he is nowhere near the first team and not likely to be barring a catastrophic run of injuries.

By my reckoning he is 7th choice in the central midfield behind (count em) Hojbjerg, Lemina, Romeu, Armstrong, Davis &, Ward Prowse and I dont think there are many Saints fans who would disagree with that ranking.

Reed spent all of last year and since being taken off at half time in our win at Bournemouth in November 2016 has played only 5 minutes of Premier League football for Saints, indeed in that season he featured in only 3 games for a total of 72 minutes on the field.

At 23 Reed's career is at a crossroads and all roads lead out of St Mary's, since his league debut almost 5 years ago in December 2013, in that time he has played under 5 different managers, started only 6 Premier League games with another 11 as sub, mainly small cameos at the end of the game.

It cannot be said that he has not had a chance, but the stark reality is that if he hasn't made the breakthrough now then perhaps he never is, if he himself want's a career in football then he has to move to fulfil his potential whatever that potential is.

The "Great player with an eye for goal" description was about Josh Sims who has already departed for Reading on a season's loan, now his career is at a totally different moment in time than Reed's.

He made an explosive debut against Everton that perhaps might come back to haunt him in that in the two years since, he too has struggled to make an impact, whether he has an eye for goal we don't really know given that in his 2 Premier League starts for the club and another 11 appearances as sub he has never scored a goal

Injury has hampered his career since, but last season he managed just 159 minutes on the pitch in the Premier League to add to 206 in that first season, this is the equivalent of 4 full games.

In that time he has shown that he has what it takes, but he still hasn't shown any of the 3 managers he has played under that he is ready to turn a few heads.

That is why he is out on loan, his need is different to Reed's, he needs to be toughened up, get a bit of confidence and show he can use his pace and undoubted ability on a regular basis at the highest level.

If he had stayed here then it might have ruined his career, a few bad games would turn the crowd against him as they have turned against the likes of Nathan Redmond despite the fact that Redmond contributed a great deal in his first season at the club he wastorn to shreds by a section of the crowd and that section will turn on Sims if he isn't the instant saviour.

So the move to Reading will undoubtedly benefit his as a player and hopefully in the long run Southampton Football Club.

But reactions from some supporters to news that both could be out on loan by the end of the month is symptomatic of the negativity that surrounds the club at the moment, every situation is being turned by some to use as a stick to beat Ralph Krueger and Les Reed with and i'm sick of it.

I have given both criticism when it is justified and certainly at times it has been, but I won't do so just because it is fashionable and as the case of these two loan deals shows, sometimes people berate them when the evidence is just not there.

Things are not great at the moment, but the reality is that we have just entered our 7th consecutive season in the Premier League, a fact which also makes us the 8th longest serving club in the current line up, we have to open our eyes to what the Premier League has become and how much it has changed in the last six years.

Over the last five years there have been few clubs outside of the big six that could match our achievements, although these achievements aren't good enough for a sizeable section of our support.

Of course I would like to see us comfortably in the top 10 year in year out and playing attractive football, but that isn't always possible and football club's have to go through periods of transition, clear out some players and bring in others.

So when Harrison Reed a player who has failed to establish himself over a five year period is used as a stick to beat Les Reed with i'm flabbergasted, especially as it wasn't so long ago that some of the people now complaining that Harrison Reed is going where ranting that previous managers have left because they were being ordered by Les Reed to play the youngsters.

So let's all take a step back and look what we want from Southampton Football Club and what is realistically achievable.

But let's not use every little thing as a chance to slag off the club.

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highfield49 added 10:12 - Aug 24
Couldn't agree more Nick, everyone is entitled to their opinion and to post it wherever they wish but social media seems to bring out massive amounts of unbalanced drivel from those who are incapable of reasoned discussion. That view applies to all of us at some time because we have our own prejudices and can't always rationalise them but there are those who thrive on being a permanently empty barrel. Sims and Reed both need game time and if they can't deliver top performances at a lower level then they really aren't going to get in our team any time soon.

dirk_doone added 10:20 - Aug 24
Even if not everyone agrees with your article, there is nothing much wrong with it except this bit at the end: " let's not use every little thing as a chance to slag off the club."

At the moment the board of directors, and more specifically, Ralph Krueger and Les Reed, seem to be odds with the fans. They are doing a terrible job and, worse still, appear to have no empathy with us and until they are replaced, the air of negativity is going to continue hanging over our club. How much longer do we have to tolerate them? Reed should have retired on his 65th birthday. How long to you suggest we continue to pay him? Until he is 70, 80, 90....? As for the Canadian ice hockey coach, why on earth is he here anyway? The continued presence of those two is the main reason why fans are being so critical of everything the club does. We want them out.

In football as in every other walk of life, people will not rally behind unpopular leaders. They will either try to get rid of them or, failing that, just become apathetic.


dirk_doone added 10:33 - Aug 24
Football is a results-based game. Our results are terrible. We have seen our team win just one league game at St Mary's in the last 9 months. That's why every decision the club makes is coming under scrutiny, because things seem to have been going very badly wrong.

Fans will understandably ask, could Sims and Reed be any worse than Davis (once good but clearly past it now), Ward-Prowse or even Romeu, who seems to have lost his form?


DorsetIan added 10:46 - Aug 24
There's very little objectivity in football. If a game is won, then we fought hard and noone much cares about what went wrong, and the mistakes the manager made. If it's lost, then every missed pass is analysed and blamed on the manager or some lazy or useless player.

It's the same with the results, at the moment because success on the pitch has been so limited, everything the club and the management do is going to be wrong - whether that's sending people out on the loan, or simply being Canadian, German or Chinese.

SanMarco added 10:52 - Aug 24
I agree with Dirk that it is only natural people are not happy with Reed and Kruger. Those two have made their own beds and now have to lie in them. I actually think both of these loans are good moves and I certainly would be more than happy to see Reed sold. If we had started the season playing well and had got two good results no one would give a toss about things like this. Unfortunately that is not the case.

If Sims really did have an 'eye for goal' at this level he would have scored by now. We musn't allow the fact that none of our players regularly score to set a benchmark. Yes, Sims has had limited opportunities but it is a hard fact of life at this level that he hasn't scored. If he is loaned to a good second division side and starts banging em in we could give him another go...

Newdawn2014 added 11:36 - Aug 24
Dorset , totally agree feelings are still running high so anyone is fair game. I don't know enough about the inner workings of the club & I suspect few on here do either although some would allude to it .
so... I would say be careful what you wish for " we want them out" is not the opinion of all.


JGH added 11:49 - Aug 24
Spot on Nick. Let's look at the big picture, how many seasons out of the last 10 have been genuinely poor? Probably one. Granted that one is still fresh in the memory but the Reed era has been a period of continued sporting and business success, long may it continue.

How about we all get behind the players and staff that are there rather than complaining about those who moved on to what they perceived to be bigger and better things, forcing the club to let them.

kenis added 11:52 - Aug 24
I don’t ageee that overall Reed and Kruger are doing or have done s bad job. Especially not if Reed is given consideration for the Cortese period. Outmanoeuvred on Alderwierald - yes, didn't hold their nerve and stick with Puel - agreed, made a poor choice with Pelligrino- hindsight’s a wonderful thing, and the jury’s out for me on Hughes. I don’t think they’ve done a bad job because players have been sold, or because Koeman left or because they tried to back their managerial appointment last season for so long (7th in chances created remember).

Our squad looks bloated, Hughes doesn’t seem to fancy the younger players so Sims on loan makes sense despit the loss of pace and creativity he has -could we have just let Tadic go and said Sims is taking his place In the squad? Would have been bold and sure Reed/Kruger/Gao would have been blamed if it didn’t work out as money grabbing. Hughes did say in his press conference there’s s January recall clause, so makes sense to loan.

Reed going means I wonder what our right back back up is, again Valery not fancied by Hughes it seems - never heard him mentioned or played in pre season. I thought he was wing back cover not central mid anymore. Either way for him he’s missed out on a perm move and he has to play so loan with view to being sold is inevitable. If Davis, Romeu, Lemina or Hoijbjerg had left and Reed talked about as their perm replacement in the squad again we’d have cried foul of the top brass even though it would have fitted with “the Southampton Way”. Similarly Gallagher should have been the fourth striker and Ings not bought but he’s another that will now he loaned unless it’s two up front for majority of games and then we need five (although Hughes clearly refers to his four strikers in the post Ings press conferences)

Key issue for me is we were all set to play 3-4-1-2 or 3-4-2-1 which Hughes tried and failed with at Stoke and has had mixed success for saints, then we have already seemed to go 4-4-2 is the answer. We’ve been most successful with 4-2-3-1 (switching to an occasional 3-5-2) but couldn’t really play that or 4-4-2 now with just Moi, Redmond and Long as the wingers in a 4 man mid or a 3 behind a central striker and who is our “1” up front? Only Long has played for teams as the lone frontman and that’s been in a all defend and punt it long playing style.

Just not sure what we are trying to achieve and saying we can be jack of all trades just means we are masters of none.

saintmark1976 added 11:54 - Aug 24
Couldn't have put it better myself dirk doone except to point out that we have only won seven Premiership games out of the last forty two anywhere, let alone one at home during the last nine months.

Hopefully we can improve, starting tomorrow. The time for further excuses and "management speak" has run out. It is a results led business and it's time for the team to step up to the plate and prove us doubters wrong.

davepid added 11:59 - Aug 24
Nick your evidence based analysis is exactly right. It’s how the Board ( or who ever decides these player matters) approach these situations: dispassionately and business like.

Of course no one can expect us fans to be so rational especially home based fans who have seen just one victory in 9 months, as dirk says, nor those who took pride in the ‘ Southampton way ‘ ,proud of producing so many Internationals in a relatively short period of time.

With so many , it seems, academy players unable to sustain a place in a Premiership side is it time to consider Saints creating a feeder club / arrangement where their development can continue but under closer supervision by our coaching staff and in keeping with our needs?


kenis added 11:59 - Aug 24
And McQueen (another imminent loan) and Target are square pegs for right back cover, and for me Ward-Prowse hasn’t nailed down his best position yet, is it deep lying creative player in a three, right sided attacker, defender, bit of both. (Just can’t see him as one of a pair of central or a 4-4-2 yet) Under Pochettino he’d probably be starting for England now!

bstokesaint added 12:55 - Aug 24
I largely agree with Kenis’ earlier post. I don’t think Ralph or Les have done a bad job on balance. Certainly the past couple of seasons have highlighted some areas of concerns and serious mistakes, which as primary stakeholders in the club, we shouldn’t be expected to just accept, even if football is a business. That said loaning out players to build experience can only be a good thing. We can’t bed youngsters just because that’s what we’ve done before. We were spoiled with a glut of talent in a couple of seasons and it’s not unreasonable to expect that we will be again with all the promising young talent in the area who joined the Academy when they saw how it benefitted the likes of Shaw, Lallana and Chambers (to a certain degree).

GeordieSaint added 13:08 - Aug 24
If hughes hadn't saved our bacon last year we could be watching this team take on milwall or Rotherham or someone like that.

Pied Stephens bednarek target
Reed ward prowse
Simms Davis McQueen

petedoors1 added 13:44 - Aug 24
Nick when you said "It cannot be said that he has not had a chance, but the stark reality is that if he hasn't made the breakthrough now then perhaps he never is, if he himself want's a career in football then he has to move to fulfil his potential whatever that potential is" Surely you where talking about James Ward-Prowse and not Harrison Reed.

IWOZTHERE added 14:20 - Aug 24
Sims,Reed, Targett and McQueen are still young enough for us and them to get some advantage from going out on loan.
I'm more concerned about Senior players like Clasie and Boufal (and Forster). If the two loanees don't earn themselves contracts, Will all three be back here next Summer drawing huge wages, a year older, and even less likely to find another club? They should have been off-loaded for whatever we could get,FF for a 'free' to subsidise his wages!

BoondockSaint added 14:33 - Aug 24
petedoors1-That was exactly what I was going to post, until I scrolled down and saw you beat me to it! You'll never hear Nick being critical of JWP and he is the same age as Reed!
(Another scary stat: He weighs only 10 1/2 stone!)

As for Sims I think maybe when fans said "eye for goal" they weren't referring to his scoring ability as his much as his aggressive play with an eye for driving towards the opponents goal rather than his team mates who would always play the ball from the opposition's third all the way back to McCarthy.

Kenis-If you give Reed consideration for the Cortese years I think you find he was riding Paul Mitchell's coattails.

BuyEastleighFC4aBtea added 14:59 - Aug 24
Like others here commenting your artical Nick, is well constructed & thought out. However, the real frustration has in reality nothing to do with these loaned players.
No it's the belligerence of both our chairman & Reed,

They have failed to convince me they are right poeple for the jobs. The chairman shutting down a fan in the recently held fans foram, By declaring he thank for passion when asked they felt it was time to go!
it is unrealistic to claim they've done a reasonable job these past two seasons. No they must take the responsibility for their continued failures.
And we reasonable fans ask them to go!
The direction of the club has been up & down under these two guys! PLAYERS HAVE SAID IT, MANAGERS HAVE SAID IT, SPORT WRITERS HAVE SAID IT & NOW FANS ARE SAYING IT!!!

Where was the blackbox when they brought Carrillo? 20 million wasted, add to this! The deals with Gaston & Osvaldo if managers are fired for not winning enough games.. then who should take the blame for hiring not one but two disconnected managers?
Now we all know are limits we won't be competing with likes of top six anytime soon because we sale our best players too them!

And we have failed largely to bring on our own class of 92 via our academy and nobody can tell me honestly the players aren't out there to be found!
so in concludion they must go!
Because the truth is there are better football directors out there too!

thedellboys added 15:12 - Aug 24
Geordie Saint. Hughes didnt save our bacon, swansea did. i get fed up with hughes getting credit for something any change of manager woud of done. the results didnt suddenly become good and we improved yes but its hard to see how we could of been worse. Poor transfer window with no real attacking additions to add to competition apart from Ings but we needed depth badly and he hasnt brought in the players for that. I disagree about Sims i think he was ready to be given a try and would of been good competition for the wide players. Redmond is again rubbosh and despite that we seem to be sticking with him. relegation beckons for this squad wuth hughes at the helm i just hope the board see that before its too late

benalisbroom added 15:57 - Aug 24
Nick, all of the articles you write about outgoing young players seem to involve you saying, "Well, they never got a place in the team in this season (or that), so therefore they can't be good enough". You never ask whether their lack of involvement was the correct decision in the first place, or even query whether a run in the team might have made them a better player?

I was at some of Alan Shearer's earliest games for the club. Despite his wonder debut, we could all see that whilst he was a disciplined and focused young lad, he looked out of his depth at the time. Chris Nichol could not afford a striker so he had to play Shearer and I reckon it's fair to say he went on to have a good career.

I live away from Southampton now, so I don't see so many games. However, I remember watching Reed play against Swansea two years ago and he was the best player on the pitch that day. I also saw Josh Sims come on against Arsenal in the league cup a couple of years back and he reminded me of Stuart Ripley: not the best dribbling skills in the world but phenomenally resourceful and put five or six crosses in which frightened the life out of the opposition defence. This "effective" mentality strikes me as the direct opposite of your recent article about Josh, which claimed that he was lacking in delivery and your article also seemed to be saying that 85 minutes of football last year for him was sufficient upon which to make a judgement. I honestly read your comments and wondered if we could be talking about the same player.

Inevitably every young player will have bad games. Your recent articles involving Sims and Reed seem to have been based on the evidence of very few appearances to point out their deficiencies, whilst also lauding expensive imports who are taking their places and failing week in and out.

This article really seems to forget our heritage as a club which patiently develops and encourages young talent. If you prefer expensive imports then perhaps you ought get a ticket to Stamford Bridge...

Your closing paragraphs in this article are extremely "strong" and I get the feeling that despite your loyalty to the club you've somehow missed a big part of the reason why other people love SFC. It's not all an 'anti-Les Reed' conspiracy and some of us might actually have a point to make...

Saintmapa added 12:06 - Aug 25
I don’t think that Armstrong, Ely,JWP or Davies are defensive midfield players so they cant be compared to Reed. But there are three players ahead of him: Hojbjerg, Lemina and Romeu. And if You look at it a bit more closely, Reeds only competitor is Romeu who can’t be that much better than Reed if You think about how good Reed was at Norwich and how badly Romeu has played in many games lat year and in the start of this season. But loaning him makes sense and we should expect Reed to nail down a starting place next season ahead of Romeu unless Romeu finds much better form. I think Saints can only benefit loaning young players out and this time it’s now different. Targett, Reed, Gallagher and Sims along with Stephens and JWP are close and hopefully they can fight their way to the first team regulars. All have the potential, but in two years time they have to prove it.

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