Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has made a very honest admission when discussing Armando Broja’s impact since signing on-loan from Chelsea.
Broja’s stunning cameo performance in the goalless draw with West Ham on Saturday almost saw him in win the game for Saints after twice going within inches of scoring, but Hasenhuttl has admitted it took the young Albanian a while to get up to speed in training.
Speaking to the media after the West Ham game (via Hampshire Live), Hasenhuttl said:
"“I would not say that he was lazy but, in the beginning, he did not show me the qualities that he has. When you arrive at a new club you must show the qualities that you have. He has done this during the last two games. He did this against Newcastle and against West Ham. For me, this is a very good sign.”"
Broja’s recent displays push him towards starting berth for Southampton
Armando Broja was fearless when he came on for the last 15 minutes against West Ham at the weekend and could have secured a priceless three points for Saints.
First, he almost set up Moi Elyounoussi after an electric burst of pace to get past Angelo Ogbonna on the right flank and then, after driving at the same West Ham defender, struck the post after another determined run just minutes later.
Stoppage-time also saw his header from a James Ward-Prowse corner cleared off the line in the nick of time by Declan Rice.
Whilst the next game against Manchester City will be a tough one to throw the 20-year-old in for, there is no doubt that Broja deserves to be given a start to show what he can do in a full 90 minutes.
He has already shown scoring prowess for Saints with two nicely-taken goals in the 8-0 cup win at Newport County and was also in strong form for Albania when contributing with two goals and two assists over the recent international break.
Despite only becoming 20 in the past week, he also looks to have the build to worry Premier League defenders. His height is a positive and the best part is that he has the pace to combine that with.
Ralph Hasenhuttl now has a striker conundrum to deal with as Adam Armstrong and Che Adams continue to be good options too, but Broja should get the chances he deserves in the coming weeks.