B Team Omissions Suggests First Team Promotion For Summer Signings
Friday, 24th Sep 2021 09:33
Southampton's B team lost heavily at home to West Bromwich Albion on Thursday night, but two players were missing from the line up, suggesting that they could now be in the first team squad.
Dynel Simeu & Thierry Small arrived at St Mary's in the summer with big reputations at academy level in England, but with little first team experience between them as well as a lack of pre season training and game time they initially they trained and played with the B team squad.
However this was all part of a masterplan and the club seemed to have higher hopes for them than just playing in that squad for the entire season, both arrived because the pathway to the first team was clogged up at their former clubs, Chelsea in the case of Simeu and Everton were Small had made a brief appearance and in doing so became their youngest ever player.
So there was always the expectation that they wouldn't hang around long in the B Team, but Saints kept the signings low key so as to not put too much pressure on the players.
Now it appears that they may be ready to at least join the first team squad if not play in the Premier League just yet.
Both did not appear in a 6-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion last night prompting speculation that they might be in the first team squad ahead of the game against Wolverhampton Wanders on Sunday.
This will almost definitely be the case for Dynel Simeu, with Jack Stephens now unfortunately out for three months, there is a lack of cover with only new signing Lyanco able to understudy.
The Brazilian made his debut for the club at Sheffield united in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday, but it was a mixed debut and he came off with 16 minutes to go, it was always going to be tough, aside from the language barrier the central defender has had a lack of game time, there was the usual condemnation from social media, but those at the game generally agreed that overall they have seen worse debuts from players who have gone on to become club legends and that aside from a couple of errors he wasn't that bad.
He is a work in progress, but with the experience he has, that won't take too long to get him up to speed at Premier League level.
But Stephens absence has created an opportunity for Dynel Simeu, at 19 he is an academy year ahead of Tino Livramento who won't reach that age until November, Livramento has excelled at right back and has been the most successful of all the summer signings so far, but throwing in a youngster at right back is far far different from doing the same in the centre of the defence.
In that position there is no hiding place, as Lyanco found on Tuesday, there is no room for error, at full back you can lose the ball and there is still a long way to conceding a goal, in the centre of defence you are usually quite literally the last line of defence, you lose a challenge or lose the ball and it will likely lead to a chance.
But the club seem confident that at some stage this season Simeu may be ready to step up to the plate and with 9 substitutes allowed I would expect Simeu to be on the bench against Wolves along with Lyanco with Bednarek & Salisu starting the game in the centre, a pairing most would agree that at present is our best.
The club put out a video on their website last night that had both Livramento & Simeu reminiscing on their careers so far, a strange thing to do with a B team players, perhaps the message from the club to the fans was that both have followed a similar career path at Chelsea, both played in the same teams there and if Livramento can be up to standard so cam Simeu.
However I don't think that Thierry Small will be on the bench quite yet, it would be no surprise to see him in the first team squad, after all he left Everton for just that reason, he didn't want to play in the B team there this season.
For Saints to sign him there will have been certain guarantees to be made and although being first choice left back will not have been one of them, being in the first team squad and having a pathway to the first team that will give him the chance to get in on merit as Livramento has, will certainly have been on the table.
So I think both Dynel Simeu and Thierry Small have taken big steps towards the first team squad this week, don't hold your breath just yet, there is a way to go with both of them, the club will want them to get experience with the first team squad on the training pitch and then see how they react, I would not bet against one of both of them making their debut's not only this season but before Xmas.
Photo: Action Images
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