Southampton yesterday announced the signing of Dutch international Wesley Hoedt from Lazio. The 23-year-old is a left footed centre back who has a growing reputation, so can he follow in the footsteps of Virgil van Dijk, Toby Alderweireld and Dejan Lovren to become a success at St. Mary’s?
Who is Hoedt?
He began his career in Holland, at AZ Alkmaar before moving to the Italian capital to play for Lazio in 2015. The centre back made his debut for Holland earlier this year and is establishing himself as one of the brightest centre backs in Europe.
With the continuing transfer saga over Virgil van Dijk, and the links with Tottenham Hotspur’s Kevin Wimmer, it is clear Southampton were seeking a cultured centre back to play on the left-hand side of the centre half pairing.
That is exactly what Hoedt is.
The boy has ability
The Dutch international is extremely comfortable on the ball, and can often play his way out of pressure with his composure and calmness with the ball at his feet.
The former AZ Alkmaar defender also has a penchant for the long ball, with an exceptional range of passing. Hoedt is a master at striking the ball extremely flat over long distance and is one of the best passers from the back in the league.
However, he has a good level of intelligence on when and where to pass it, shown by his 88% passing accuracy from 23 league appearances last season. Hoedt’s superb technique also makes him a threat from distance.
Don’t be surprised to see Hoedt get around five goals this season, having scored two last year.
He can defend as well…
However, Hoedt is also extremely dependable at the back. He times his tackles to perfection and often dictates where he would like the attacker to go, rather than the other way round.
On the rare occasion, the opposition player does get a yard on Hoedt, he is very good at a recovery tackle, using his long frame to reach out and nip the ball away from the attacker before it’s too late.
Standing at a commanding 6 ft 4, Hoedt also uses his size to good effect in the air, winning on average 2.3 aerial duels per game last season, also making him a threat from set pieces.
Hoedt is also extremely adept when his side are under pressure, and can play in a low block defensive structure which Southampton may have to do when playing against the bigger side’s this season. That is shown by his rather high average of 4.5 clearances per game in Serie A last season.
So then, whilst Hoedt may not be well known to many in the Premier League, the Dutchman has every chance of becoming yet another Southampton centre back success.
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