Southampton keeper Alex McCarthy back in training ahead of Leicester City clash on Saturday

Alex McCarthy back

Southampton have received a huge boost ahead of the European qualification spot clash with Leicester City on Saturday after it was confirmed that goalkeeper Alex McCarthy had returned to training following a period of self isolation.

McCarthy has been one of the best keepers in the league this season managing to keep 7 clean sheets. Whilst the England international was isolating, Ralph Hasenhuttl was forced into choosing Fraser Forster for the match against Liverpool. However, the former Celtic man had an excellent display and kept a clean sheet in their 1-0 win over the champions.

Speaking after the match, the Austrian coach spoke of his happiness at having such a fantastic backup selection available.

“It shows how good the guys are working with the goalkeeper coach and how strong they have developed every part of their game so far,” said Hasenhuttl.

Southampton keeper Alex McCarthy back in training ahead of Leicester City clash on Saturday

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 23: Fraser Forster of Southampton gives his eam instructions during the Premier League match between Southampton and Huddersfield Town at St Mary’s Stadium on December 23, 2017 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

“I think this is a good signal for us that we immediately have a ‘number one B’ that steps in and plays a fantastic game. A clean sheet against Liverpool in the first game, this is fantastic for us.”

It will be intriguing to see which keeper Hasenhuttl does choose to go for but based upon his comments calling Forster a plan ‘B’, if McCarthy is fit it is likely he will start.

Defensive security

Southampton currently have the joint 4th best defensive record in the Premier League and one which is better than all of the top 4 clubs this season. Ralph Hasenhuttl has been able to instil an aura of confidence, solidity and and determination which has allowed his side to become one of the contenders for a European spot.

The former RB Leipzig coach spoke of the importance of maintaining possession and keeping the opponent moving in order to tire them out and make opportunities for them less clinical.

“Absolutely,” he said when asked about the importance of the defensive record. “I was always very, very angry about our not consistent defending because we are definitely one of the better organised teams in this league and still concede so many goals.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 13: Che Adams of Southampton celebrates with teammates Jannik Vestergaard, Danny Ings and Theo Walcott after scoring their team's first goal during the Premier League match between Southampton and Sheffield United at St Mary's Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Southampton, England. A limited number of spectators (2000) are welcomed back to stadiums to watch elite football across England. This was following easing of restrictions on spectators in tiers one and two areas only. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 13: Che Adams of Southampton celebrates with teammates Jannik Vestergaard, Danny Ings and Theo Walcott after scoring their team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Southampton and Sheffield United at St Mary’s Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Southampton, England. A limited number of spectators (2000) are welcomed back to stadiums to watch elite football across England. This was following easing of restrictions on spectators in tiers one and two areas only. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

“As strange as it sounds, the way we try to play with the ball now is our fundament of not conceding so many goals, because we have more possession.

“The opponent has to run more to get the ball back. That also kills you and makes you a little bit more tired, so you are not so clinical when you have a chance. That makes it easier to defend for us. The whole package is a more successful one.”

The match against Leicester City at the weekend will be another test with the likes of Jamie Vardy, James Maddison and Harvey Barnes all looking to break the stubborn Saints back line.

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Alex McCarthy backSouthampton have received a huge boost ahead of the European qualification spot clash with Leicester City on Saturday after it was confirmed that goalkeeper Alex McCarthy had returned to training following a period of self isolation. Southampton have been boosted by the return of goalkeeper Alex McCarthy as he prepares for Saturday’s clashFootball (soccer) greatest goals and highlights | 101 Great Goals – Feed

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