02 October 2020

Ralph Hasenhuttl concerned over Stuart Armstrong’s Scotland workload

02 October 2020

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl would welcome a chat with Scotland manager Steve Clarke to avoid the “nonsense” of midfielder Stuart Armstrong potentially playing three matches over the international break.

Armstrong missed the opening Premier League fixture at Crystal Palace having sustained a thigh problem after featuring in both of Scotland’s Nations League games at the start of September.

The 28-year-old is again likely to be a central figure for Clarke’s squad, who face a crunch Euro 2020 play-off versus Israel on October 8 followed by Nations League matches against Slovakia and Czech Republic at Hampden Park.

Hasenhuttl was left less than impressed by the player returning to club duty injured last time around, feeling Armstrong needs to be carefully managed as his energetic style makes him susceptible to picking up niggling problems.

“Maybe I should take a phone call because it is definitely not possible for him to play three games in six or seven days. It is nonsense,” the Austrian said.

“I don’t understand this behaviour at the moment anyway. We don’t have five subs in the Premier League, but they play three games in six days.

“We have definitely not the best relationship at the moment with the international squads, I think.

“It is something that, for the players, is very tough to handle. Hopefully he stays fit and comes back fit.”

Hasenhuttl knows how crucial Armstrong is to his Southampton team.

“In the moment he’s definitely one of our most important players because he shows all the time, exactly the behaviours I want to see,” said Hasenhuttl, whose side host West Brom on Sunday.

“He’s very smart, knows exactly the spaces where he has to move in. He’s hard to catch there, hard to tackle there.

“I think he definitely adapted his game to the things we are demanding and finally the outcome is a much better, much more efficient performance for us as a team.

“Hopefully his development continues in this way, he stays fit. Sometimes there’s a little bit of problems with small injuries and that sets him back all the time.

“Hopefully he stays fit now and then he can be definitely a very important player for us this season.”

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