Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has a lot to ponder in the final weeks of the 2020/21 season as plans are made for future years.
Some players are coming to the end of their contracts and a largely inconsistent campaign looks set to produce a fairly sizeable squad overhaul this summer.
One member of the current setup who impressed against Spurs last time out was defender Mohammed Salisu – still very much making his first steps into Premier League football.
As he adjusted to proceedings, he started to show his ability up against a player in Gareth Bale who has proven himself to be one of the world’s best.
Defensive intensity is just what Southampton need
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Against Spurs, Salisu made the most tackles, the most blocks and most clearances of any Saints player.
He is a centre-back by trade but his left-footedness makes him a natural at left-back too. He may not have the all-round knowledge of the position like Ryan Bertrand but still showed that he must be given more minutes in the remainder of this season.
Saints were strong in the first-half at White Hart Lane and showed great energy, but key to this was the intensity of Salisu. Spurs would have seen him as a weakness to target but he fought back and showed just why he was signed from Real Valladolid last summer.
As they look to turn their fortunes around, a character like Salisu is just what Saints need. There are moments where he still looks a raw player with much to learn, but he also shows class at times and makes things look easy once he gets into a game.
Saints have got into a habit of dropping off their opponents after half-time and allowed their hard work at Spurs to be undone because of this. Salisu retaining his place in the starting line-up would give them a chance to keep their defensive shape and look to a player who could be part of the club’s plans for the next two or three years.