Salisu Could Be About To Make Southampton Debut Against Wolves
Wednesday, 10th Feb 2021 11:03
Reports are suggesting that a surprise debutant against Wolverhampton Wanderers could be summer signing and invisible man Mohammed Salisu, as Saints look to try and shore up their defence.
The story of Mohammed Salisu at St Mary's is a strange one, whilst we knew he was injured when he arrived and most accepted that given a lack of pre season training it would be some time before he would be ready, it was assumed that his first appearance in a Saints shirt would be some time around late October/early November.
The good form shown by Jannik Vestergaard and Jan Bednarek around that time meant that his skills were not in desperate need as Saints stormed up the table.
It was a little surprising as the season got into full swing and November came and went without his presence in the squad, but then in the 11th Premier League game of the season he suddenly appeared on the bench at Brighton to start a run of 6 games as a substitute.
In fairness looking back on those games it is easy in hindsight to see why he did not get on the pitch, all bar the 3-0 win over Sheffield United were close games, the other 5 saw 1 win, 3 draws and a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City.
So it is not unusual why he did not get a game, after such a long time out no manager would want to throw in a player who has not played a competitive game in 6 months and is untried at this level.
But just as we needed him against Liverpool, he picked up another injury resulting in another 5 games out of the squad and the situation was starting to become a little puzzling.
Of course the rumour mill went into overdrive with all and sundry coming up with reasons as to why he is yet to play, ranging from the manager thinks he is rubbish to that the player himself doesn't like the cold.
The last one is absolute rubbish, a quick look at the average weather in Valladollid in Spain shows that the temperature between November to February isn't much different from that in Southampton.
What has fuelled those rumours is the lack of information that has been forthcoming, as of yet he has not had the usual flourish that surrounds a new signing, there was no picture of him with the shirt or an interview and virtual silence on everything surrounding him.
The messages that have come out of the club whether in the media or from sources close to the club off the record, have always maintained that Salisu is highly rated as a player and that once the injury issues have been sorted then they have every confidence that he will play a big part at St Mary's.
Last week he suddenly returned to the bench for the trip to Newcastle and again the way the match went did not allow for him coming on, with Newcastle down to 10 men and hemmed in, it was understandable why we would not want to use a substitution on a defender.
But it seems that he is now ready to play , Ralph Hasenhuttl had this to say:
"This is the fittest he was ever so far, yes.
"He will be available to start."
"This was the plan (to play against Shrewsbury), it didn't work the first time," said Hasenhuttl.
"Let's have a look if it works now."
So it could be that Salisu will make his debut against Wolves on Thursday evening and from what the manager is saying it could be in the starting line up.
With Jannik Vestergaard coming back from injury only a few days ago, Hasenhuttl will perhaps not want to rush him into 3 competitive games in the space of 8 days, so is clearly considering throwing in Salisu.
Saints will also have Kyle Walker Peters available for the trip, but they will still be without 6 players with Ibrahima Diallo, Stuart Armstrong, Theo Walcott, Will Smallbone & Michael Obafemi out with injury & Takumi Minamino cup tied.
Photo: Action Images
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Letters from Wiltshire #32 by wessex_exile
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Letters from Wiltshire #31 by wessex_exile
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