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Vestergaard Set To Miss Fulham Trip ! But Who Will Replace Him
Thursday, 24th Dec 2020 09:37

Ralph Hasenhuttl was dealt a big blow with the news that Jannik Vestergaard may miss the trip to Craven Cottage on Boxing Day, but the real question is who will replace him, will it be Jack Stephens or will Ralph go for the shock selection of Mohammed Salisu.

Unknown to Saints supporters Jannik Vestergaard has been carrying a knee injury in the last few games and after playing 3 games in only 6 days, it has caught up with him and in the words of the club become "Unmanageable" whatever that means.

But the news gets worse as it seems that it will be week on the sidelines for the Danish central defender and he has been a key element of our surge up the league this season.

"He is definitely a player who was in unbelievable shape. I think nobody expected him to play like this and it will be a big loss, no question," Hasenhuttl told HampshireLive.

"I don't know how serious it is, we don't know yet - but say it is a few weeks, it doesn't make sense for me to tell the players every week: 'Don't forget, Jannik is not there!'

"I think we have seen the team at the top of the league (Liverpool) play for two months without Virgil Van Dijk and everybody said this was not possible, that you could not play without him. They are not really less successful than before, so everything is possible."

Hasenhuttl is yet to make his decision as to who could replace Vestergaard at the back with two training sessions, today and Friday, still to take place before Saturday's game.

It seems that Ralph now has to make a straight choice to replace Vestergaard, will he go for the tried, tested but not completely convincing Jack Stephens or the summer signing Mohammed Salisu, a completely unknown quantity in this country and this level.

Ralph continued

"Maybe the game will change slightly because Jannik with the ball has fantastic passes and solutions but we must adapt our game always to ever circumstance that is there - but we must trust in the other ones.

"Salisu is a completely different player. He is left-footed so a left-footed one makes it on the left a little different with the angle of how you play the ball.

"But we have Jack Stephens who is a very similar ball-player to Jannik. I have not decided yet what I will do," he admitted.

"We must have a look. We will not be able to make a one to one change as this is not possible."

It will be a tough decision for Hasenhuttl, but more worryingly one that could send Saints season on a downward spiral, on one hand Stephens is a good club player , one who has never truly made the position in the centre of defence his own and for most of this season has been a squad player, from this perspective it could be said he is part of a time when we were defensively awful, but he is experienced.

On the other side we have a promising new signing, but one who hasn't played a game of any sort since July and is untried at this level.

Both the injury and the lack of game time not only for Salisu but also Ibrahima Diallo who is likely to replace the suspended Oriol Romeu highlights an area that we have fallen down a bit in and that is resting players and giving those that can replace them some game time.

This will be a lesson that Ralph Hasenhuttl will learn, but it might be an expensive one with two games coming up against Fulham & West Ham that will see us either still in the fight for a top six place or potentially drop down into the mid table.

If I had to call it I would say Stephens will play, he has the experience, but he is a good squad player rather than a truly consistent performer over a long period, but he can put in a shift, no one knows whether Salisu is the new Virgil Van Dijk or the new Vegard Forren.

Photo: Action Images

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A1079 added 09:50 - Dec 24
It wasn't long ago when most of us were relieved if the Viking was not playing, now, like many, him not being available feels like a big loss. Amazing how fortunes change.

It seems like the injuries are piling up a bit. Not that there are any certain results in football but I looked for the Fulham game to get 3 more points but we are missing some key players.

A chance for some of the other players to step up but you cannot expect them to suddenly do what the regulars have been doing.

felly1 added 10:39 - Dec 24
I think whoever plays. ( think he'll go with Stephens) will be rusty/nervous, so fingers crossed they settle into the game and we dont concede early. I wouldn't be surprised if they play Mitrovic and try and bully us as we know Stephens is not the best at dealing with this type of player.
The fact we have lost three of our best performers in Ings, Romeu and the big fella is a real worry.
Time for some of the others to show what they're made of otherwise as Nick says it'll be a slide down the table.

underweststand added 10:58 - Dec 24
Vestergaard has gone from strength to strength this season and the big question is no longer .. is he the next VvD, but could he become better than .....?
The next question is... might he ..(like the other Dane we had in the club)...be thinking that he has outgrown our club and it might be an ideal time to look ...even higher ?
Vestergaard has worked really hard and if he needs a rest, we must give him one, and with a potential replacement (Salisu) already on the books ....why not ?
A player of his ability would get top fee in the market just now..and if VvD fetched £75 million ...then it's good to remember.... that Vestergaard is even a tad taller than VvD.

But all this is in the future ...and having bought Salisu, every Saints fan is waiting to see how he performs and we owe it to him to give him a chance, and after all Fulham are not Man City. Let's hope that Ralph makes the right call...

codge added 11:43 - Dec 24
Please Salisu and not Stephens who is still a disaster waiting to happen.

Ali_Diarea added 11:46 - Dec 24
I think he’ll start with Stephens and I think that would be the right call given his level of experience. It just means we have to score at least 3 goals to have any chance of winning 😂
Happy Christmas all!

sandywelsh added 13:12 - Dec 24
Its got to be Mohammed Salisu because Ralph said he is ready to go, and we all know that Jack Stephens is accident prone. Jannik Vestergaard has been brilliant lately and he will be a big miss.

SaintPaulVW added 13:43 - Dec 24
I think it will be Stephens. He's a good player and knows the system. I can't see Ralph risking a completely untested Salisu from the start. Hopefully he might start giving him some game time from now on.

Regardless of who is in defence, someone at the other end needs to score. Do that against Fulham a few times and it shouldn't matter who we start at CB.

highfield49 added 14:58 - Dec 24
Following the logic of Salisu not having played, and thus not being match fit, then I presume he will never play because he's never played? If he's fit and as physically strong as we are led to believe then he has to step up before Stephens who has also not played for several matches.

SonicBoom added 18:43 - Dec 24
I may well be wrong but has Salisbury played for one minute?
I cant remember it so on that basis hes unlikely to go from inexperienced, unused sub to the starting 11. Although sometimes RH does like to do some strange things tactically.
I do worry that he hasn't been that smart. Ings was back from an op and was straight in the team for every game. And he gets an injury.
Vestergaard has apparently been carrying this injury but he didn't get a minutes rest and is now out for weeks. Maybe this should have been handled better....

underweststand added 10:20 - Dec 25
Nick made all the important points in the article, but I wonder if some of the contributors above are looking at the same problem?.
If Vestergaard is injured at least he managed to get through Arsenal and Man City games
and needs a rest. You need to replace a left-sided player with a like-model (namely Salisu) IF... he's "Ralph-fit " and has adapted to our style of play then he needs selection NOW.

Having beaten ; Burnley, West Brom. Brighton and Sheff. Utd , Fulham are now the only club we haven't played who are near the "drop zone " ...so it's his best chance to play.
With West Ham and Liverpool on the calendar... it's better to get a look at him sooner ... rather than get a shock in one of those key games.

Danny Ings was out for 5 weeks (3½ games) but looked his old "all action" self, aside from lacking that "magical sharpness "that he had previously, but 90+ minutes of our style of play is taxing - even on the fittest. I don't fault Ralph for playing him.
Armstrong has played more games, but been less-effective than Ings in that time.

Despite their enthusiasm, neither Tella or N'Lundulu look likely to set the World alight, and it may take time for them to play themselves in. Meantime...playing Walcott up front with Adams is one solution, but I am concerned that Che Adams is the only real target man we have -and will surely get " extra attention" from opposing defenders.

Hence my prev. comments about getting another striker on board before the end of this window. We had a good, long spell with a "super fit" Danny Ings, but it may take time for him to regain form and a lack of goals may cost us if we are keep up with the top sides.


Number_58 added 10:21 - Dec 26
Why do managers these days tell the world who's injured and who's fit two days before a game? In the good old days you'd normally only find out when the teams ran out at 2.55. Surely it must give the opposition an advantage if they know a key player (like JV) is highly unlikely to play? If it wasnt for the modern media's desperate thirst to have something to report, would these things even get discussed?

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