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Experienced Southampton winger Theo Walcott has opened up about the intense managerial mess at Southampton, admitting that he has “never really experienced” anything like the developments in the dugout at St. Mary’s Stadium this season.
Relegation candidates Southampton are entering the campaign’s climactic run-in under the direction of their third permanent manager since August, following the recent appointment of Ruben Selles.
Selles has handed the reins following the sacking of Nathan Jones in February, just three months after Jones himself had replaced popular Austrian coach Ralph Hasenhuttl in November.
Selles oversees spike in form
The whirlwind of changes at Southampton has been difficult for the Saints’ players to cope with, however, their new Spanish coach has enjoyed a fine start to life at the helm on the south coast, guiding the team to two wins in three games.
Southampton’s crucial 1-0 triumph over Leicester on Saturday pushed them to within touching distance of safety and a late leap for survival could now be in the works.
Walcott spoke about the various managerial switch-a-roos at the club as well as Selles’s early impact shortly after Southampton’s victory over the Foxes, saying:
“I’ve never really experienced so many manager changes and I’m nearly 34.
“And we’ve got some of these players that are just starting and they’ve had all these changes. It’s very disruptive, and it’s something that many players would probably shy away from but these guys want to front up and it’s nice to see.
“We’re not getting carried away, but it’s nice knowing we’re not that team at the bottom because my son keeps on getting on to me about being at the bottom and that we’re going down! He’s only six. Arlo loves football right now and he makes me love it more too.”
Walcott says results are the name of the game
Walcott returned to his boyhood club Southampton from Everton in the summer of 2021, though the Saints’ standards have been slipping since his comeback and they finished in 15th position in each of the last two campaigns.
The 33-year-old experienced some flirtations with relegation during his time on Merseyside with the Toffees, though he revealed that he isn’t all too familiar with the feeling of battling for Premier League survival.
“It’s very different, I’ve never really experienced this,” Walcott told HampshireLive after Saturday’s game.
“Obviously, Everton we had a few scenarios like this, but this is a bit more intense, I’d say. But right now, quite frankly, it doesn’t matter how we play, we just have to get results. Simple as that.
“I’ve been here for a while now. People think I’ve been injured but I haven’t been, I’ve been here. I’ve been trying to help out the young players and things like that and Ruben wanted to go with something different today and I was pleased that he did that.”
Walcott was chosen to start for just the second time in the Premier League this season when he was deployed by Selles against Leicester at the weekend. The winger had one shot on goal, but completed just 50% of his attempted passes however, before he was withdrawn shortly after the hour mark.
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