Journalist Tom Barclay believes Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl still rates Kyle Walker-Peters highly, despite leaving him out on a number of occasions this season.
The 24-year-old is yet to start in his favoured right-back position this term following the arrival of teenager Tino Livramento from Chelsea in the summer.
What's the latest news involving Walker-Peters?
After being left on the bench for two of Southampton's first four league games this season, Walker-Peters seemed to have re-established himself in the starting line-up, as he played at left-back in three consecutive matches against Manchester City, Wolves and Chelsea.
However, he was back on the bench last weekend for the side's home clash with Leeds United. The Saints went on to win that match 1-0 thanks to a second half goal from Armando Broja, and Walker-Peters, who is valued at £16.2m by Transfermarkt, failed to get any game time for the third time in eight matches in 2021/22.
What has Barclay said about Walker-Peters?
Although he was snubbed once again by Hasenhuttl, Barclay still feels that the Austrian coach admires Walker-Peters' qualities.
Referring to Walker-Peters, Barclay told GIVEMESPORT: “I think they rate him very highly, and he played well last year. He’s really good going forward, got bundles of energy. I remember doing an interview with him last season, he talked about how he just basically wanted to outrun every player and just tire them out.
“He’s got a lot of ability going forward, and he’s pretty solid defensively too.”
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Has Walker-Peters been harshly treated by Hasenhuttl?
There is certainly an argument that he has been.
Livramento has settled in quickly at St Mary's, so it is understandable that Hasenhuttl wants to get him into the team.
However, it is actually Walker-Peters who has outperformed Livramento according to their WhoScored match ratings (6.83 to 6.80). This mark sees Walker-Peters rank third amongst the Southampton squad, suggesting that Hasenhuttl should be trying to find a place for him in his starting XI.
Thus far, he has shoehorned the former England Under-21 international into the side as a left-back, but he now seems to have made the harsh call of replacing him with Romain Perraud.
Given that he has done very little wrong, Walker-Peters may be feeling frustrated at getting left out, and Hasenhuttl could be forced into rethinking how he uses the full-back, or there is a risk that the defender will look to move elsewhere in search of regular playing time.
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