Opinion: Midfielder has uncertain future at Southampton, manager treatment to blame

Opinion: Midfielder has uncertain future at Southampton, manager treatment to blame – originally posted on Sportslens.com

Stuart Armstrong finds himself on the periphery at Southampton and could be on his way out in January as a result. The 27-year-old has been short of playing time under Ralph Hasenhuttl despite Southampton’s lack of goals in the Premier League (eight games, eight goals), so it’s hard to see Armstrong staying at St Mary’s in 2020.

The Scotland international has made six league appearances this season, but they’ve all come from the bench. Armstrong has found himself behind Oriol Romeu, James Ward-Prowse and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the midfield pecking order while Sofiane Boufal has been preferred in an advanced role too.

Since joining Southampton from Celtic in 2018, Armstrong has made 38 appearances in all competitions, scoring and creating six goals. He featured 29 times in the league last season but only lasted a full 90 minutes on three occasions.

And this season, Armstrong was left out of the matchday squad in Southampton’s 3-0 defeat to Burnley (August 10), played for 22 minutes in their 2-1 defeat to Liverpool (August 17) and six minutes in their 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion (August 24).

He was left on the bench in their 1-0 EFL Cup win over Fulham (August 27), played for 19 minutes in their 1-1 league draw with Manchester United (August 31), five minutes in their 1-0 win over Sheffield United (September 14) and two minutes in their 3-1 defeat to Bournemouth (September 20).

Armstrong was once again an unused substitute in the EFL Cup as Southampton beat rivals Portsmouth 4-0 (September 24) and played for 11 minutes in their 2-1 league defeat to Tottenham (September 28). He’s racked up just 65 minutes of top-flight football and must be considering his options.

The 27-year-old doesn’t appear to have much of a future under Hasenhuttl, so a move away in January might suit all parties.

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