Joining Southampton midway through December, Ralph Hasenhuttl has already had a major impact on the South Coast side. Recording more Premier League wins in just eight games than his predecessor, Hasenhuttl has revitalized the Saints. Marching up the table and moving the club out of the relegation zone, Hasenhuttl has already become a beloved figure.
Besides the above-mentioned areas, Hasenhuttl has also had a major impact on the individual performances of his players. Already establishing a preferred starting eleven, the Austrian boss has overseen some massive improvements. Of course, some players have benefited more from the Austrian manager than others.
Taking a look at those players that have progressed extremely well, here are Southampton’s three most improved players under new manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.
Southampton’s Most Improved Players Under Ralph Hasenhuttl
Depending on your definition of improved, Jan Bednarek may not be someone you want on this list. Playing extremely well at the end of last season and through Poland’s World Cup run, Bednarek came into the 2018/19 campaign looking set to earn a prominent position at Southampton. However, under then-manager Mark Hughes, the Polish international’s career quickly stalled.
Making just four appearances in all competitions, Bednarek was completely forgotten by Hughes. However, that quickly changed once Hasenhuttl entered the fray. Recalling Bednarek into the first team, Hasenhuttl has started the Polish defender in every one of his Premier League matches.
Enjoying some amazing form during this time, Bednarek has become a leader at the back. Not only that, but many would argue he is the best player at the club currently. Making some game-saving tackles and blocks throughout his current eight-match run as a starter, Bednarek is now a fan-favourite.
Overall, Bednarek was a good player before and during Hughes’ tenure on the South Coast. Proving now just how good he is, Bednarek is certainly the biggest beneficiary of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s appointment as Southampton manager.
Suffering since the departure of Ronald Koeman, James Ward-Prowse has drifted aimlessly for the past two-and-a-half years. Struggling to make an impact in the Saints first team, Ward-Prowse hit new lows this season under Mark Hughes. Making just five Premier League appearances this season under Hughes, Ward-Prowse was at a career crossroads.
However, things quickly changed once Hasenhuttl arrived on the South Coast. Starting the last six consecutive matches, Ward-Prowse has already scored two goals, his first since February of last year. Also of note, of course, is the Englishman’s work ethic, something that was showcased this past week.
Playing all 120+ minutes of Wednesday’s FA Cup match against Derby County, Ward-Prowse then followed this up by playing the full 90 minutes on Saturday against Everton. Also noteworthy from this is the fact that Ward-Prowse covered the most ground of any player during Saturday’s match.
Impressing so far under the tutelage of his Austrian manager, James Ward-Prowse has the look of a player reborn. Should he continue to improve and impress, Ward-Prowse may finally reach the potential that many Saints supporters had him pegged for many moons ago.
Earning the most plaudits of any player since Ralph Hasenhuttl’s appointment, Nathan Redmond has been a completely new player under the Austrian. Formerly a selfish player on the pitch, Redmond’s form took a nosedive at the start of last season. Scoring just one goal last season, Redmond’s poor form would continue over into this year.
Struggling to make an impact under Mark Hughes, Redmond failed to score or earn an assist in Southampton’s first 16 Premier League games. However, upon Hasenhuttl’s arrival, things started to change for the Englishman. Calling Redmond less selfish since his arrival, Hasenhuttl has found a way to get the best of Redmond.
Starting to contribute on the defensive end of the pitch, Redmond’s form in front of goal has also been rejuvenated. Scoring five goals in his last eight matches, Redmond has also become a leader on and off the pitch. Should things continue, it would not be shocking to see Redmond earn a call-up to the English National Team.
Overall, Redmond is currently the best attacking player at the club right now. Finally capable of scoring goals and creating plays for his teammates, Redmond’s turnaround must be attributed to Ralph Hasenhuttl.