Southampton: Hasenhuttl’s comments about Will Smallbone are spot on

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04: William Smallbone of Southampton celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the FA Cup Third Round match between Southampton FC and Huddersfield Town at St. Mary's Stadium on January 04, 2020 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04: William Smallbone of Southampton celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the FA Cup Third Round match between Southampton FC and Huddersfield Town at St. Mary's Stadium on January 04, 2020 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images) /
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Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has hinted that young midfielder Will Smallbone has a huge future with the club.

20-year-old Smallbone made his Premier League debut on Saturday and impressed as Saints claimed an important 2-0 victory over Aston Villa.

The decision to hand him a start was a surprise from Hasenhuttl with the more senior Oriol Romeu available, but his call paid off big time and gave Saints fans another view into the future.

Speaking to the Daily Echo about Smallbone, Hasenhuttl said:

"“He was very brave on the ball, he showed a few goal moves and had a big chance for scoring when his shot was deflected and hit the post. It would have been fantastic if he had immediately a goal. But he’s the future and this is the way of our future. Now we have 34 points and we now can start to look to the future for next season, what players we have for next year. This is more important than everything else.”"

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 22: William Smallbone of Southampton in action during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Aston Villa at St Mary’s Stadium on February 22, 2020 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images)
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 22: William Smallbone of Southampton in action during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Aston Villa at St Mary’s Stadium on February 22, 2020 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Alex Broadway/Getty Images) /

From what Hasenhuttl has said here, you can see that he believes in his midfielder and the other players who are trying to break through right now.

From Smallbone’s first two games for Saints, it’s clear that there is something special him.

His ability on the ball is such that he always looks in control when in possession and clearly backs himself to produce the goods.

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One moment from his performance on Saturday shows his confidence and could have given him his second senior goal from two games.

Early on, he received the ball from Moussa Djenepo well outside the area but didn’t hesitate before firing a shot goalwards – the ball spinning off a defender and clipping the outside of the post.

There’s something refreshing about this understanding from Hasenhuttl too.

Previous Saints managers may have been able to see the talent that Smallbone has but would have been too cautious about handing him a start in a must-win league match.

By trusting his young player, Hasenhuttl has aided his progression as a footballer and sped up the process that could see Smallbone as a real asset to the first-team from now on.

Given the reputation that the Saints academy has, they certainly have the right man in charge currently and must keep him for as long as possible to see their new crop of products flourish.

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