Ralph Hasenhuttl shares brilliant Nathan Tella story that sums up Southampton youngster


Ralph Hasenhuttl has confirmed that Southampton youngster Nathan Tella recently approached him to play for the Saints’ B team.

Tella was a surprise inclusion in the Southampton B squad for a Premier League 2 clash with Aston Villa eight days ago, with the 22-year-old starting the game at Staplewood less than 24 hours after being among the then substitutes that the Saints beat Watford in the Premier League.

The former Arsenal youngster, who has struggled to find playing time at first-team level this season at Southampton, had a positive impact in the game, scoring from the penalty spot as the Saints Villa sidelined 4-0.

It’s a performance that has prompted Southampton fans to invite him to play in the first team more often, after just six appearances this quarter, including the most recent in the Carabao Cup against Chelsea.

And Hasenhuttl confirmed that it was actually Tella’s idea to play in the game, adding that the youngster had approached him to express his desire for more playing time.

Hasenhuttl said HampshireLive: “Nathan [Tella] asked us to play, which I thought was great, and he did a good job there. It also shows this guy’s character and this boy wasn’t playing fantastically.

“I’m not the kind of manager who will force my players to play [for the Under-23s] but I’m a manager who really likes to see players come to me and ask me to play. “

Nathan Tella during Southampton FC training session at Staplewood campus

Tella’s decision to ask to play reminded Hasenhuttl of a similar situation at Southampton, involving Oriol Romeu playing for the U23 squad.

And Hasenhuttl spoke positively about Tella, to whom he admitted he wished he could have given more opportunities alongside him this season.

“When I joined, I was told about Oriol [Romeu] when he wasn’t in the first team and wanted to play in the Under 23 because he needed games, “he said.

James Ward-Prowse celebrates with his teammates

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“He knows how important it is, especially the 90 minutes, very important to have the rhythm and the minutes in the legs. That’s what he understands too, right away.

“[Nathan] Tella is convinced of its quality. He knows that if he plays [for the Under-23s] he always scored there and shows his mentality. It’s a good message for me and a good message for the team, the club and for everyone. “

Tella is hoping to have more opportunities in the coming weeks for Southampton, with a trip to face Norwich City at Carrow Road following the international break, which coincidentally where the 20-year-old made his Premier League debut in June 2020.

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