Southampton’s battling midfielder Victor Wanyama is considered to be “more important” tonight in their match against Manchester United, according to the club’s manager Ronald Koeman.
Koeman has to deal with the absence of Morgan Schneiderlin, who also missed Southampton’s clash with Arsenal last week.
Schneiderlin is seen as an integral figure in Southampton’s play, and the club turned down a series of big money bids for the French international in the summer.
Now, however, they have to deal with his absence.
As a result, Koeman is set to rely heavily on Wanyama to push the Saints through against Man Utd.
He is expected to occupy a more defensive role in Schneiderlin’s absence, forcing him to curb his attacking instincts.
“He is an important player,” Koeman said.
“In the beginning he did well and it was difficult for him because he had a different pre-season than the rest of the players because he had to play for the national team of Kenya.
“But little by little he is taking his place in the team. He’s very strong. He wins his battle in midfield, he scores goals and that’s the difference between now and last season.
“If Morgan is not in the midfield, [Wanyama] is still more important because they have a good relation, they connect well in midfield and Victor is maybe the strongest, most physical midfielder that we have in our team.”
Wanyama moved to the south coast club in the summer from Celtic for £12.5 million.
The St. Mary’s side could move back into the top four with a win against Louis van Gaal’s big spenders.