Will Salisu Play Any Part At Chelsea
Wednesday, 14th Oct 2020 09:07
Every Saints fan knows the name Mohammed Salisu, but fee would recognise him in the street as he has not had an official signing picture nor conducted much press etc, but the question is could he feature at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Back in 1979 there were badges saying "Ive seen Charlie George play" as after his signing from Derby County arrived injured, then played a couple of games before being injured again.
That is not quite the case with Mohammed Salisu, but his arrival during the close season followed by a 14 day quarantine period meant that he was unable to start pre season training until early September.
Those who know anything about coaching and sports science will tell you that the general wisdom on returning to fitness after a close season break is that after six weeks off as Salisu had had, it takes six weeks of intense training to get you back to full fitness.
Ralph Hasenhuttl confirmed this in an interview a month or so ago when he said that he expected Salisu to be ready for selection after the October International break.
That is due to end this weekend and so will the player be included in the squad for the trip to Chelsea ?
My feeling is he might well travel with the squad for a bit of team bonding etc, but he will be highly unlikely to be even on the bench.
There are two reasons for that, firstly he has had no match action at all to my knowledge and it would be a baptism of fire to throw him into a game against one of the top clubs in the country without getting a fell for 90 minutes with his last game being played 3 months ago for previous side Valladolid in Spain.
Included in that is the players relative inexperience, he only had a season as first choice at Valladolid in La Liga and still only 21 he will need to be blooded carefully.
Secondly on the back of two clean sheets, Saints are in no urgency to make a change, if they included Salisu on the bench then it might have to be at the expense of Jack Stephens and that would be a little unfair.
So at best Salisu might get a place on the bench , but I do not expect him to get on the field unless there are two of our three central defenders get injured.
There are some ranting and raving on social media about the fact that Salisu has not featured so far, but the truth is the International break has disrupted the plans slightly, to have played him before it against West Brom might have been a little too soon and so the full six weeks has been adhered too.
Now it is a case of getting him some game time and that might be a little tricky, Chelsea away is always a toughie as I have mentioned and the visit of Everton to St Mary's on current form is just as tricky, so my bet is although we will see him on the bench, perhaps a run out for the last 20 minutes against Everton if the situation allows it, it could be thr trip to Villa before he gets any meaningful action.
Having said all this though, Salisu seems to have a strong character, he has had to had if you see the journey he has taken to get from his roots in Ghana to the Premier League, some players are mentally tough enough to be thrown in at the deep end at a young age, whilst others take a little longer, from reading about our new central defender he might just be ready sooner than later.
Photo: Action Images
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