Journalist Tom Barclay has claimed that Kyle Walker-Peters will be concerned that his Southampton teammate Tino Livramento is showing no signs of suffering a dip in form any time soon.
The pair were expected to battle for the right-back berth at St Mary’s this season, but so far Livramento has made the position his own.
What’s going on with Walker-Peters and Livramento?
Since signing from Chelsea in August, Livramento has been an ever-present in the Saints side, starting all nine of their top-flight matches. The 18-year-old won a penalty against his former club earlier this month, and followed that up by scoring his first goal for Southampton on Saturday against Burnley.
Meanwhile, Walker-Peters has been handed opportunities on the opposite flank as a left-back, but he has been unable to cement his spot in the side.
Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl handed him three consecutive starts before the recent international break, yet he has since been displaced by summer signing Romain Perraud. Walker-Peters, who is valued at £16.2m by Transfermarkt, has been an unused substitute in each of Southampton’s last two matches.
What has Barclay said about Walker-Peters?
Barclay believes Livramento’s consistency will likely keep him in the side ahead of Walker-Peters, and that the former Tottenham man now has a tough time winning his place back from Perraud.
With this in mind, he has stated that it is not easy to see where the defender fits into Hasenhuttl’s plans.
Talking about Livramento initially, Barclay told GIVEMESPORT: “He hasn’t looked like he’s going to have any kind of dip at the moment, and that, I guess, would be a worry from Walker-Peters’ point of view.
“If that remains the same and he’s become second fiddle at right back, and Perraud starts to make the left side his own by being a natural left footer, then where does he play? Then you do have an issue.”
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Does Walker-Peters still have a role to play at Southampton?
The last couple of weeks will have been frustrating for Walker-Peters, sitting on the sidelines while Livramento and Perraud get to play instead.
Furthermore, Southampton have picked up four points from the two games that he has not been involved in, suggesting that they are heading in the right direction and there is very little need for Hasenhuttl to change anything.
Then again, Livramento is still only a teenager and he may struggle to keep playing at a high level at such a tender age. Hasenhuttl may also want to be careful that he does not overuse Livramento when he is still developing, and that could present Walker-Peters with a chance to play at right-back at some point.
On the other flank, Perraud is still new to English football, and may take time to get fully up to speed with the Premier League, so Walker-Peters could cover for him from time to time as well.
The start of the season has not gone to plan for the 24-year-old, but he could still be able to force his way back into Hasenhuttl’s thinking in the next few weeks.
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