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Saints Head To China
Tuesday, 3rd Jul 2018 16:26

With the squad only returning to training last Thursday and some still missing thought World Cup duty and signing for Ajax, the trip to China will have more important things to achieve than winning games of football.

Saints will be going to China for many reasons, but possibly the last thing they will be looking to achieve is back to back wins on the tour.

It is firstly about Mark Hughes getting most of his squad together and bonding with them as well as introducing a couple of new faces.

Secondly it will be bout assessing fitness levels and then building on them.

Thirdly will be a little bit of match practice, but this will very much be low key with the emphasis on everyone getting a game and a bit of a feel for the ball.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly it will be a PR exercise for GAO Jisheng to show his fellow countrymen his team and perhaps start to build a profile for the club in China.

Whilst some will scoff and make glib comments about signing players first etc, building our name in World football is all part of what the biggest clubs do, it is about building up the global brand albeit in a much smaller status than the big six Premier League clubs.

So this jaunt will tell Mark Hughes little about his team from a playing perspective, but he might get to know a few things about the mentality of his players.

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davenbennett added 18:33 - Jul 3
I am interested in how the likes of Gallagher, Reed, Targett, McQueen, Sims, Slattery and Hesketh fare. I see Seager is not in squad, so must assume still Injured. He was seen as a prospect a few seasons ago, but always injured. Even some of the younger ones have the chance to impress Hughes, like Jones and Valery. And Classie of course, but would be surprised if not let go, albeit on loan.
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Ali_Diarea added 22:48 - Jul 3
Boufal and Carrillo left out or were they part of World Cup squads? Hopefully the former, we need a good clear out!
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petedoors1 added 14:23 - Jul 4
Ali Diarea you are right we have got a lot of deadwood that has built up over the years and we need a good clear out. I would get rid of the following players- Clasie, Ward-Prowse, Redmond, Stephens, Davis, Gallagher, Carrillo and Forster. Maybe Boufal needs another chance.
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TeamCortese added 23:05 - Jul 4
petedoors1: couldn't agree with you more. I like Stephens but I'm not sure if he'll develop further and cut out his lapses in concentration. Everyone else needs to go!

Clasie I'd only keep if he's happy playing back-up when Romeu, Hojbjerg and Lemina are injured.

I think Boufal should be given till Jan to prove himself. However, I think the bridges have already been burnt..Hopefully we have a replacement in place. I'd love us to go in for Adama but I'd take Shaqiri in a heartbeat too.

Hopefully Mr Gao will keep the money coming in--especially now we're getting our brand name out there in China!
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SaintBrock added 15:29 - Jul 5
I hope some will have watched the live stream. Not sure we covered ourselves in glory and none of our kids did enough to impress except maybe Jan Valery.

Gabi looked totally disinterested and Stephens. well just looks like he always used to look, limited and slow to learn. Hoedt overtires but should be OK.

The Lord please help us if we have to rely on Austin and Long as our main strikers
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SaintBrock added 15:31 - Jul 5
Stuart Armstrong 'though does look decent and will keep one of Lemina or Hojberg on the bench. Ward Prowse may have to find another club, even Reed outshone him today.
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LoisDeem added 09:35 - Jul 6
Seeing the picture of Nelly at the Sea City Museum reminds me to ask:
Is the Saints exhibition any good, worth a visit?
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