Southampton return to Premier League action on Sunday afternoon as they take on Burnley at St Mary’s in the early kick-off, and with captain James Ward-Prowse potentially sidelined for the game, Ralph Hasenhuttl should consider unleashing Alexandre Jankewitz in his midfield.
Ward-Prowse was forced to withdraw early from international duty earlier this week and was sent back to Southampton as a precaution after picking up a calf problem.
The Austrian manager has since confirmed that, whilst he is hopeful the Saints captain will be fit, the 26-year-old hasn’t been training with the squad in the build-up to the game against Sean Dyche’s side.
You may worry that Ward-Prowse’s run of playing 90 minutes in every single Southampton fixture so far this season could soon come to an end, and with Oriol Romeu also sidelined through injury, Hasenhuttl has a big decision to make when it comes to selecting a midfield partner for Ibrahima Diallo.
Fortunately, Southampton have a more than capable midfielder waiting in the wings in the form of Jankewitz, who has been the name on many Saints fans’ lips this week after some impressive performances with Switzerland at the European Under-21 Championship.
The 19-year-old hasn’t been seen for Southampton since getting himself sent off on his full Premier League debut in the defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford earlier in the season, but Hasenhuttl should put his faith in the teenager to make a much more positive impression against Burnley on Sunday.
If Jankewitz isn’t entrusted with any minutes between now and the end of the season, then you worry that Southampton could lose him permanently in the not-too-distant future, especially after he handed in a transfer request in January as a result of his lack of playing time in the first team.
The last thing Hasenhuttl wants to do is make Ward-Prowse’s injury worse by selecting him when he’s not fully fit, so he should forget about picking his captain against Dyche’s side on Sunday and instead give Jankewitz another chance to impress.