Anyone with eyes can see how important Kyle Walker-Peters is for Southampton and the way Ralph Hasenhuttl wants his team to play.
That’s a rather impressive feat, considering the right-back only joined Southampton in January 2020 - initially on loan.
Unfortunately for the Saints, Walker-Peters has been limited to just three games since mid-January after suffering two different muscle injuries.
With the 23-year-old out of the first team, Hasenhuttl hasn’t had a wealth of options to call upon to replace Walker-Peters in defence.
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Jan Bednarek, usually Southampton’s starting centre back, has had to step in on the right side and that has two negative impacts. One, it’s a towering centre half playing in an unfamiliar position. Two, it disrupts the central pairing between Bednarek and Jannik Vestergaard or Mohammed Salisu.
So, Saints fans were delighted to see that Walker-Peters has been back in training for the first time in weeks.
Hasenhuttl poured praise on Walker-Peters and how important his role is for the Southampton first team, but warned he may not be ready to return in time for his side’s upcoming clash with Sheffield United.
“We miss him when he is not playing,” the Austrian said via the Daily Echo.
“He was an important player in our best time of the season. And yes, we hope when he is coming back that he can lift our game.
“But it is still not 100 per cent sure if he can play on the weekend. So let’s have a look.”