Selles must unleash Southampton’s “ridiculous” teen gem who could silence Leicester – opinion

Southampton are approaching the point in their bitter campaign where defeat is simply not an option; with the established Premier League club four points adrift from safety after 24 matches, continuing the wretched form that has heaped ten league defeats onto the outfit from the past 12 matches could spell the end of their stay in the top-flight.

Ruben Selles, the third manager of the campaign, is evidence of the magnitude of the tumult; a beloved and respected figure by the players, Selles secured a monumental victory over Chelsea, away at Stamford Bridge, before falling to relegation rivals Leeds United last weekend.

And now, the paramount importance of landing a first league win of the calendar year at St. Mary’s has never been greater, with forthcoming opponents, Leicester City, themselves only three points clear of the drop zone.

With everything on the line, Saints’ boss simply must unleash 19-year-old prodigy Romeo Lavia, who has been one of his side’s shining lights this season amid the gloom of the collective efforts.

Will Lavia star against Leicester?

A precocious youth, Lavia was signed from Manchester City for £14m in the summer, even subject to an overzealous £50m bid from Chelsea a matter of weeks after arriving on the south coast, on deadline day.

While the bid was swiftly rejected, it was a testament to just how highly regarded Lavia is, and he has certainly made his presence known during his breakout season in professional football.

Having made 20 senior appearances across all competitions this term, producing a goal and an assist apiece, the Belgian starlet has swiftly asserted himself at the heart of the Southampton fold, playing an instrumental role despite missing eight matches due to a hamstring injury earlier in the campaign.

As per Sofascore, the teenage sensation has recorded an average league rating of 6.8, completing 87% of his passes and making 1.9 tackles and 1.1 interceptions per game, also impressing with the accuracy of his robustness, winning 60% of his duels and succeeding in 59% of his dribble attempts.

Lauded as “ridiculous” for his industrious abilities by The Athletic’s Jacob Tanswell, Lavia ranks among the top 5% of midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues over the last 365 days for blocks per 90 and the top 19% for pass completion, illustrating his gritty demeanour on the pitch and an assurance that blues his tender age.

With Leicester having made the eighth most passes in the league this season, Lavia’s ubiquity and movement in the midfield will be imperative, and could indeed secure three points that would put his outfit within touching distance of coveted safety.

And given that the Foxes have scored four goals in two of their past four Premier League encounters, the former Cityzen might shine in breaking down offensive advances as his aforementioned defensive statistics show that the gem has the quality to cut out attacks on a regular basis.

Southampton will need to rally fighting spirit and grit for the forthcoming clash, and with Lavia at the heart of the St. Mary’s, victory might just be clinched as the Belgian talent could silence the Foxes midfield.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top