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Southampton's promising Irish midfielder set for long spell on the sidelines

Ralph Hasenhuttl confirmed that Will Smallbone has suffered an ACL injury.

Will Smallbone (file pic).
Will Smallbone (file pic).
Image: Mike Hewitt/NMC Pool/PA Wire

SOUTHAMPTON HAVE been dealt a blow with the news that their young Irish midfielder Will Smallbone is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

The 20-year-old Irish underage international is one of the most highly regarded young players in the Premier League and has already made three top-flight appearances for the club in the current campaign, as well as featuring nine times last season.

He started Saturday’s 2-0 defeat against Leicester City, but was taken off in the 61st minute after a collision with Timothy Castagne.

Boss Ralph Hasenhuttl confirmed today that Smallbone has suffered an ACL injury, telling reporters

“We have another big injury with Will Smallbone. It’s the worst for him and for us, an ACL injury, so half a year out, maybe.

“It’s horrible for the young lad and for us. In the moment with injuries it is definitely not our best run, but there are some circumstances in this strange season that leads to a lot of problems with a topic that we didn’t have for the whole of last season.”

The Southampton manager had been highly complimentary of the Ireland U21 international’s performance, telling reporters in the immediate aftermath of the game: 


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“Will was good. He was fighting and had a few good moments, we had a few chances in the first half also.

“I like him more in the 10 position than the six position. He had some good solutions, he also had some good chances on Saturday – one good chance to score.

“He’s a good footballer and learns to work against the ball also.

“Also, he was fighting very hard. It was a step forward in his development, definitely.”

And Smallbone is not the only Irish Southampton player currently out of action, with striker Michael Obafemi also sidelined.

The Dublin-born forward, who has one senior Ireland cap, has made just one Premier League appearance off the bench this season, after a promising 2019-20 campaign.

He had recently been due to go on loan to Swansea City for the remainder of the season, but the Championship club ended their interest after the 20-year-old suffered a muscle injury in training.

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Paul Fennessy

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