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2021-2022-Season

#PLStories- Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl on getting most out of Scotland’s Stuart Armstrong #SAINTSFC

RALPH Hasenhuttl insists that he believes Stuart Armstrong’s best position is “on the 10” but adds it is a boost for Saints that “he is a flexible player who can fill other positions”.

The Scottish international made only his third start of the Premier League season during the 1-1 draw with Manchester City at St Mary’s, after two lengthy injury layoffs.

The 29-year-old has only played a full 90’ once this entire campaign, having been completely absent from 11 of the 19 Premier League matchday squads through a calf injury.

In that time, Saints’ bizarre record of not winning any league match without him on the pitch for over two years continued – although admittedly helped by his injury time introduction from the bench at West Ham on Boxing Day.

Saints won 3-2 in the Boxing Day clash at London Stadium (Pic: PA)

And while the Scot is still getting back up to full speed, he has been deployed wherever Hasenhuttl needs him – rather than holding down any shirt of his own.

Armstrong has been used an attacking midfielder on the right of Hasenhuttl’s four-man banks, utilised as a prong in a three-man attack, as well as filling in as a substitute both centrally and as a right-wing-back with defensive duties.

“He played against Chelsea in the (EFL) cup (in October) and he did a very good job on the six (central-midfield),” Hasenhuttl explained to the Daily Echo.

Stuart Armstrong made his first start of the season in the EFL Cup (Pic: PA)

“On the 10 was his first (Premier League) start this season, I still think that his best position is there.

“But he is a flexible player and he can fill also other positions.”

The Austrian continued: “This is good for what we need for our team, flexible players with quality. He also showed us in the past that he can score goals.

“Stuey was long out because of some issues he had with his body until now and he is coming back on a good level. Hopefully he keeps going.”

Stuart Armstrong is a popular member of Saints’ playing squad (Pic: Stuart Martin)

Saints’ captain, James Ward-Prowse, also commented on the quality that lay there in waiting.

“He has been a huge miss for us with his game understanding and his quality on the ball,” Ward-Prowse explained. “It is really high.

“He is a great lad and when you get to play with one of your best mates, it is a real pleasure and a real boost for the whole team.”

In-between the injury concerns that have slowed his season even up to this point, the former Celtic man was able to play a key part in securing his country a World Cup playoff back in November.

They became his last two games before his calf concern sidelined him for another month, but Armstrong made two appearances and provided a vital assist to compatriot Che Adams in their final two qualifying wins over Moldova and Denmark.

Scotland will face Ukraine in March, in the World Cup playoff semi-final (Pic: PA)

“Every minute you get as a player is helping you to get some self-confidence,” Hasenhuttl added, on his international call-ups. “This is the same for Stuey.

“In our squad it is similar, very tough to play from the beginning at the moment because there is a lot of quality that gives you some issues to be ahead of them.

“This is what he has in the national team the same, it’s all about showing up, showing your qualities and hoping the manager picks you and you have to grab the chance.”

Ralph Hasenhuttl

RALPH Hasenhuttl insists that he believes Stuart Armstrong’s best position is “on the 10” but adds it is a boost for Saints that “he is a flexible player who can fill other positions”.  Armstrong has been used an attacking midfielder on the right of Hasenhuttl’s four-man banks, utilised as a prong in a three-man attack, as well as filling in as a substitute both centrally and as a right-wing-back with defensive duties.

Ralph Hasenhuttl said: “He played against Chelsea in the (EFL) cup (in October) and he did a very good job on the six (central-midfield). On the 10 was his first (Premier League) start this season, I still think that his best position is there. But he is a flexible player and he can fill also other positions. This is good for what we need for our team, flexible players with quality. He also showed us in the past that he can score goals. Stuey was long out because of some issues he had with his body until now and he is coming back on a good level. Hopefully he keeps going.”

Saints’ captain, James Ward-Prowse, also commented on the quality that lay there in waiting.

James Ward-Prowse said: “He has been a huge miss for us with his game understanding and his quality on the ball. It is really high. He is a great lad and when you get to play with one of your best mates, it is a real pleasure and a real boost for the whole team.”

In-between the injury concerns that have slowed his season even up to this point, the former Celtic man was able to play a key part in securing his country a World Cup playoff back in November. They became his last two games before his calf concern sidelined him for another month, but Armstrong made two appearances and provided a vital assist to compatriot Che Adams in their final two qualifying wins over Moldova and Denmark.

Ralph Hasenhuttl added: “Every minute you get as a player is helping you to get some self-confidence. This is the same for Stuey. In our squad it is similar, very tough to play from the beginning at the moment because there is a lot of quality that gives you some issues to be ahead of them. This is what he has in the national team the same, it’s all about showing up, showing your qualities and hoping the manager picks you and you have to grab the chance.”

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