Former top-flight forward Garth Crooks has waxed lyrical about Southampton defender Jan Bednarek for his ‘standout’ performance against Chelsea at the weekend.
The Saints caused an upset over Chelsea on Saturday, February 18, beating them 1-0 at Stamford Bridge. A stunning free-kick goal from James Ward-Prowse saw the visitors claim all three points.
Ruben Selles, as interim manager, managed to get the best out of a host of players who had been largely underwhelming under Nathan Jones. Bednarek was one such player who impressed at the weekend.
The Pole made a total of four tackles, blocked three shots and made two clearances and an interception in the game. His performance in London has certainly not gone unnoticed among fans and pundits.
Crooks, who was impressed with Southampton’s overall defensive display, picked Bednarek in his Team of the Week. He named the 26-year-old as the Saints’ standout defender on Saturday. He wrote in his BBC Sport column:
"“What a defensive display by Southampton at Stamford Bridge. For a team that has kept one clean sheet in 20 games, they defended against Chelsea as if their lives depended on it.”“I could have selected any one of their back five against the Blues, they were that impressive, but Bednarek was the standout defender for me.”"
The former Tottenham Hotspur went on to explain how Bednarek put his body on the line to ensure the win for the Hampshire outfit. He added:
"“The Poland international has had a difficult season, but put his body on the line on more than one occasion, organised his defence brilliantly and weathered everything Chelsea could throw at him.”"
Apart from Bednarek, goalscorer Ward-Prowse, who Dean Hammond has backed to beat David Beckham’s free-kick record, also earned a place in Crooks’ Team of the Week.
Ruben Selles tipped for Southampton manager job
Crooks also feels Southampton should hand Selles the manager job permanently after he led the team to a win on Saturday. He wrote:
"“Would I give interim manager Ruben Selles the Southampton job permanently? Well, he can’t do any worse than Nathan Jones now, can he?”"
While it remains to be seen if Selles will be given the job, he will be determined to lead the team to another victory when they face Leeds United on Saturday, February 25.