Southampton manager Ralph Hassenhuttl has expressed his delight over Kyle Walker-Peters’ improvement over recent games. The Tottenham Hotspur loanee joined the Saints in January, and has seen limited game-time since the move. But the defender could now see an upturn in form following his recent positive display against Arsenal.
Ralph Hassenhuttl Praises Improving Kyle Walker-Peters
Despite being named among the substitutes for the clash against Arsenal on Thursday, Walker-Peters caught the eye when called upon. Yan Valery’s tepid display forced the Southampton boss to shake things up, and the 23-year-old was called into action.
Walker-Peters boasted a 95% pass accuracy, attempted two crosses and created one big chance in his 45-minute cameo. It captured the attention of Ralph Hassenhuttl who was impressed with the display but says improvements can still be made.
Speaking to football.london, Hassenhuttl said: “He did a good job in possession with good decisions. We can still improve this player but he was much better.”
“Especially in the second half, we needed a lot of possession and then it was clear that with Kyle we have footballing a guy who is calm on the ball and can create some threat on the right side,” he told Hampshire Live.
“Although the last final cross or the final pass wasn’t always perfect, I think we can do it better and this must be the goal for the future to work on this.”
Loan Brings Long-Term Worries
While Walker-Peters appears to be beginning to demonstrate his skill-set on the south coast, the issue of the defender’s future may come into question. The Englishman is set to return to north London at the end of the season, however, Hassenhuttl is remaining focused on the present.
“This is always the same issue you have with players on loan, especially when you know that there’s less options to get him permanent in the summer,” he said.
“But even now, we must find the guy who is fitting the best to what we need at the moment.”
Walker-Peters’ parent club Spurs will undoubtedly be keeping close attention to the defender’s development. Although Serge Aurier appears to have nailed down a starting spot under Jose Mourinho, right-sided defensive depth remains shallow. A back injury has ruled out emerging youngster Japhet Tanganga, and makeshift fullback Juan Foyth has a knee injury. Should Walker-Peters continue to gain valuable experience at Southampton, he could prove to be a useful asset on his return to Spurs; adding an ability to bolster an already-limited defensive area.