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End of Season Player Review: Maarten Stekelenburg

Our second review is for a man who came on to backup Forster once he returned, but had to do most of the work throughout the beginning of the season: Maarten Stekelenburg.

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I find fans' opinions on Maarten Stekelenburg a bit harsh. Stek was brought to Southampton from Fulham, with a bit of a shaky record. He was thrown into a bad position to be quite honest. At the time, the Southampton defense saw the likes of Steven Caulker at CB, a not yet developed Cuco Martina, and a young Matt Targett at LB in place of the injured Ryan Bertrand.

He was thrust onto the European scene, where Saints as a whole did not perform very well. Admittedly, he wasn't great. But Southampton were never going to find a keeper who they could only promise playing-time to for the first half of the season.

Stekelenburg came to the club hoping for a resurgence in form, looking to become the keeper he once was. In 17 games, Stek was 6-5-6 as keeper in the Premier League with a 60% save rate. He made a few good saves, but also conceded some poor ones.

Maarten Stekelenburg is rumored to be close to a permanent deal with the club on a free-transfer, which is great. Once again, who are you going to find to backup better than Stek?

With the only other option at the club being Paulo Gazzaniga, Stekelenburg is the perfect man to provide rest for Forster when needed. He isn't starting quality, no. But he is good enough to play games here and there, and is still an upgrade to Gazzaniga.

So what are our final thoughts on Stekelenburg?

FINAL GRADE: 6/10

Summary: Maarten came and did what he needed to do, which was provide decent cover until a healthy #1 Fraser Forster return. He was thrust into a tough situation, a transitional stage, as writer George Galpin called it. He wasn't helped by any part of the team. Poor defense, poor goal scoring form, and poor teams in front of Stek in general didn't help the cause. He wasn't great, but wasn't awful either.

The Dutchman will be a good backup for Fraser Forster next season, and maybe beyond.