Armstrong defends Saints teammate as 'great fit' despite squad exclusion

Southampton's Adam Armstrong (right) celebrates scoring their side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton. Picture date: Tuesday August 30, 2022.
Southampton's Adam Armstrong (right) celebrates scoring their side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton. Picture date: Tuesday August 30, 2022.

ADAM Armstrong defended new teammate Ainsley Maitland-Niles, saying “I think he is a great fit” after the Arsenal loanee was excluded from the last matchday squad.

Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl admitted he has “a lot of work to do” before the 25-year-old is ready to play in the Premier League for Saints, after the defeat at Aston Villa before the break.

Maitland-Niles did make his debut at Wolves the previous matchday, coming on in midfield as a late substitute in the first of two 1-0 defeats in the Midlands.

The versatile deadline day addition signed a season-long loan deal that is thought to have an option to buy, but Hasenhuttl clearly sent him a message by leaving him out of the group altogether.

It was a decision that meant having only Joe Aribo – who is much more proficient further forward – as a back-up in the defensive midfield area, for starter Ibrahima Diallo.

"Every team has a different way of playing and how a manager wants us to play,” Armstrong, who has appeared in every Premier League match this campaign, admitted.

“But it is something we are always working on as a squad every day to get better and to put performances right on the pitch.

"I played with Ainsley [Maitland-Niles] before and I think he is a great fit for our squad. He has a lot of energy and a lot of quality as well.”

Armstrong was a teammate of Maitland-Niles when he won the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in 2017 with England – the country’s first appearance in a global final since 1966.

“He can play in a lot of different positions and he was at Arsenal for a reason,” Armstrong added. “He broke into that team and he is a great addition to the squad."

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this article - we appreciate your support in reading the Daily Echo.

Subscribing to the Echo means you have unrestricted access to the latest news, features and Saints coverage - all with an advertising-light website.

You will also have full access to Saintsplus, your new home for Southampton FC tactical analysis, features and much, much more.

Don't just take my word for it - subscribe today.

Follow the latest breaking news in the Southampton area by searching Southampton News - Breaking News and Incidents on Facebook

Follow the latest court and crime news on our dedicated group by searching Hampshire Court and Crime News on Facebook