Southampton team news: 'Strong possibility' over 37-cap star after Ralph Hasenhuttl snub

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl giving the thumbs-up

Journalist Tom Barclay expects Mohamed Elyounoussi to return to Southampton's starting line-up this weekend against Leeds United.

The 27-year-old, who signed from Basel for £16.2m in 2018, looked to have cemented his place in the team in recent weeks, but was surprisingly left on the bench for the Saints' latest outing against Chelsea.

What's the latest news involving Elyounoussi?

Having been an unused substitute in Southampton's first two league matches, Elyounoussi made the most of his opportunity when he was handed a start in the Carabao Cup in late August.

The winger scored a hat-trick and delivered two assists in an 8-0 drubbing of Newport County, and went on to play full games in the side's next four top-flight fixtures.

However, just as it looked as though he'd established himself in the starting XI, he was dropped by Ralph Hasenhuttl for the team's trip to Stamford Bridge before the international break.

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What has Barclay said about Elyounoussi?

Barclay does not believe that Elyounoussi's spot in the team should be questioned. He feels that the 37-cap international was probably left out as Hasenhuttl wanted more experience for that game, while Elyounoussi has only played 21 times in the Premier League.

Following that snub earlier this month, Barclay has predicted that Elyounoussi will be reinstated into the starting XI later today at St Mary's.

Explaining Hasenhuttl's thinking to GIVEMESPORT, he said: “I guess when you’re playing Chelsea away, you’re looking for hardened battlers to try to find some way of getting through that game, to get some points. And to be fair, they weren’t far off until Ward-Prowse got sent off and obviously they conceded the late goals.

“So, I don’t look at that game and think: ‘oh, Elyounoussi’s position is suddenly under threat.’ It was a horses for course situation with playing away at Stamford Bridge. So, I think there’s a strong possibility he can come back in.”

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Should Elyounoussi start against Leeds?

Hasenhuttl leaving out Elyounoussi against Chelsea seemed to come out of the blue. He should not hesitate in putting him back into the side from the off at home to Leeds.

Southampton have struggled for goals this season, scoring just five times in seven league games, while Elyounoussi is the team's top scorer across all competitions, having found the net on four occasions.

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The South Coast club are going to be without Che Adams and James Ward-Prowse due to injury and suspension, respectively, so they need to look for a goal threat from elsewhere.

Elyounoussi has shown this term that he has an eye for goal, indicating that Hasenhuttl can't afford to overlook him again this time around.

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