OptiNews - Friday 01 to Thursday 07 December 2017

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@OficialCedric on the importance of the #SaintsFC fans, after winning the @UnderArmourUK Player of the Month:

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Optimus trousers posted this 2 weeks ago

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"It's not been easy" - Pied's fight for his Saints chance

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JEREMY Pied admits it hasn't been easy for him at Saints - but is "100 per cent sure" he can give much more to Mauricio Pellegrino's side.

A horror cruciate ligament injury, which the right-back says he'll not forget for the "rest of my life", kept him out for the majority of his first season at St Mary's after signing for free in August 2016 from Nice.

On top of that, Claude Puel, the manager who brought him through Lyon's academy, later signed him for Nice and brought him to Saints in the first place, was sacked in June.

"It was the decision of Southampton Football Club, so I have to respect that," he said about the departure now Leicester City boss, Puel, who returns with the Foxes next Wednesday.

"I have a contract with Southampton and I have to respect that.

"It doesn’t matter what's in my head, for me when I have a shirt I give 100 per cent for the shirt.

"Of course, I signed with Claude Puel but if it’s another manager this is part of a professional footballer’s life.

"We have to respect and just give your maximum on the pitch."

With first choice right-back Cedric Soares out with a hamstring problem, Pied made his first Premier League appearance of the season at AFC Bournemouth last Sunday.

The Frenchman,who is in the last year of his contract at St Mary's, is adamant he is now ready and "100 per cent I can give more" to Saints.

"To be honest, it’s not been easy," he said about his lack of game time.

"We all want to play the maximum games possible, but you have to find the solution, you have to keep going or you just abandon it. My choice was to keep going, it’s really important for me.

"The manager sometimes speaks with you to explain, sometimes he congratulates you because you keep going.

"You don’t have the time you want on the pitch but it’s important to be ready for the team."

Having only played once for the first-team in a 2-0 defeat at Wolves in the League Cup prior to the 1-1 draw at the Vitality Stadium, the 28-year-old knew he had to be careful against the Cherries.

"It’s difficult physically because I was ready, motivated and 100 per cent against Bournemouth," he said. "But I have to be clever because if you run forward, come back, run forward, come back, after 25 or 30 minutes, with the Premier League intensity, your game is finished, so that’s why I was happy after this game.

"But, now, I’m sure I can give more. I’m sure, 100 per cent, I can give more. I will try to do more in the other games I have to play and I’m ready for that.

"In my head I was ready and now I have to find more rhythm in my legs.

"It’s not a complaint, we are human.

"At the training ground, it’s nice, I give my best to the training, but the training is not a Premier League game."

After making his top-flight debut against Watford in a 1-1 draw at St Mary's in August 2016, Pied was not seen on the pitch again until May, having suffered a horrific cruciate ligament injury in training at Staplewood.

"I cannot forget this injury for the rest of my life," he said. "I was angry when I had this injury. A lot of people told me ‘you will come back stronger’ and I was angry with this answer, because how can you come back stronger when you injure your knee like this?

"But in the end I think it was a good answer because, seriously, when you have this and you work day after day, when you come back, you feel stronger.

"I am happy with that and I touch wood I never have an injury like that again."

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Optimus trousers posted this 2 weeks ago

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Hesketh starting to make waves once more

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JAKE Hesketh is starting to make waves again for Saints Under-23s – but, despite this, a first-team return seems a long way off for the 21-year-old attacker.

Hesketh, who has been viewed as a bright hope for the future for some years at St Mary's, has been shortlisted for the Premier League 2's player of the month, having netted four goals in three matches for the club's age group side in November.

The Hampshire lad, who grew up in Fareham, has worked his way back from a series of frustrating fitness problems to once again prove himself in the academy, having spent 10 months on the sidelines with two separate injuries.

Now, the slightly built forward faces an ever heightening hurdle to leap over to make it into Mauricio Pellegrino's first team, which is not short of players already in the queue for game time.

It is a jump he's made before, but every time he has heartbreakingly suffered injuries and had to start back at square one with a new manager to impress every time.

During Ronald Koeman's era in charge in 2014/15, an 18-year-old Hesketh broke through for the first time, making his debut in a 2-1 Premier League defeat against Manchester United at St Mary's in December 2014.

He sufficiently impressed Koeman to make his first start in the following game against Burnley, but this appearance only lasted 32 minutes after Michael Keane's strong tackle saw him limp off injured.

Subsequently, Koeman never turned to Hesketh again following the difficult time at Turf Moor, with the view that perhaps Hesketh needed to become stronger to cope with the stresses and strains of the physical surroundings of the Premier League.

Despite the set back, Hesketh went onto make 22 appearances that campaign for the under-21s, eventually helping Martin Hunter's side lift the Under-21 Premier League Cup.

But it wasn't until Claude Puel took over for the 2016/17 season that Hesketh was once again back in the frame for a first-team appearance. He impressed this time, too.

An outstanding display in the League Cup at St Mary's against Crystal Palace in September 2016, which he capped off with a goal in the 2-0 win, earned him a start against Hapoel Be'er Sheva in the Europa League group stages.

However, in the daunting and hostile setting of the Turner Stadium in south Israel, Hesketh, perhaps understandably, struggled to adapt, and was subsequently withdrawn before half-time for Dusan Tadic as Puel looked to protect one of the academy’s rising stars.

It was a disappointing moment and his final involvement in the first team last term, with injuries hampering his progress once more.

A four-month lay-off until the end of February meant all the momentum he gained from his outings under Puel dissipated.

He returned to action for the under-23s, but the youngster went onto battle a hamstring injury, which kept him out for a further six months before again returning at the end of October to under-23s action.

"It's a long time to be out and it's very frustrating sitting and watching everyone train and play, so to be back in and around it is really exciting," he said.

Despite, the injury issues, Saints have stuck by Hesketh, who has been at the club since he was eight years old, and this time last year signed a four-and-a-half year contract.

Now, Hesketh must wait on another first-team chance and hope, this time, when it comes, he finally sticks around and his fitness holds out.

It must be said that it's more difficult than ever for a player to breakthrough now, with Pellegrino having quite a few options to choose from.

But Hesketh can't be ignored if his form continues for the under-23s.

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Summary of non-mainstream articles: 07/12/2017 18:03:24

West Ham should hijack rival's bid to sign attacker with 5 goals and 11 assists FOOTBALLFANCAST

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Optimus trousers posted this 2 weeks ago

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@SouthamptonFC - Southampton FC

Gearing up for Sunday! 💪 #saintsfc

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Summary of non-mainstream articles: 07/12/2017 19:03:27

Could Danny Ings Be Coming Home In An Exchange Deal ! - Southampton News THEUGLYINSIDE
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Optimus trousers posted this 2 weeks ago

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@SouthamptonFC - Southampton FC

1️⃣ week to go until the #FAYouthCup campaign begins for #SaintsFC's youngsters! http://sfcne.ws/YCTicketsWolvesH

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Optimus trousers posted this 2 weeks ago

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#SaintsFC skipper @StevenDavis8 is our programme cover star for Sunday's #PL meeting with #Arsenal!

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Summary of non-mainstream articles: 07/12/2017 21:03:47

Times report Liverpool signing plans in January, Klopp has back-up option this time THISISFUTBOLCOM

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Summary of non-mainstream articles: 07/12/2017 22:03:48

Pied reveals it's not been easy to fight for place in team READSOUTHAMPTON

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Optimus trousers posted this 2 weeks ago

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Arsenal writer @charles_watts gives us the inside track on #SaintsFC's next opponents ahead of Sunday's game: http://sfcne.ws/InsideTrack_AFC

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