Wednesday Dec 30, 2020. 13:00
Ghanaian star Mohammed Salisu’s delayed official debut for Southampton FC has been explained.
The towering defender was hoping to feature for the Saints against Fulham FC over the weekend, with the club’s first-choice centre back Jannik Vestergaard out injured.
However, Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl opted for Jack Stephens for the English Premier League game which ended in a 0-0 draw.
The Austrian tactician explained why he snubbed Salisu, who joined the Saints from Spanish La Liga side Real Valladolid prior to the start of the current season.
“For me, it was important [against Fulham] that I brought in a player who knew immediately what he was doing,” said Hasenhuttl told Hampshire Live.
“When you have three changes in the team you need to have as much automatism as possible. I am sure Salisu could also play well.
“But it is important not to have too many changes and to keep our shape so that the players know exactly what they’re doing and I think we made the right decision,” he added.
“It was important too that Jack showed that he could play on the left because I did not want to move Jan back to the left side.
“It was a little bit new for him but he is experienced as had the quality to handle this. He did a good job.”
Hasenhuttl feels that Salisu is yet to settle in the team, but he backed the 21-year-old player to excel at the club in the future.
“Salisu is the future of this club. It will take time. We know how long it takes for some players to step into the team,” he continued.
“He has so much potential and [at Fulham] it was more important for me, as I said, not to unsettle the team. It would have been difficult, I think.
“I am really happy that Sali is here and he shows to me in every session that he can help us.”
Salisu joined Southampton from Valladolid for a fee worth £10.9 million on a four-year deal in August 2020.