April 24, 2024

SAINTS midfielder Flynn Downes stated that new acquisition Joe Rothwell “looks sharp” after his first training sessions with the team.

The 29-year-old signed on loan from AFC Bournemouth until the end of the season earlier this week, adding to Russell Martin’s options.

Rothwell is a ball-carrying number eight who can play anywhere in a midfield three, providing competition for the present squad.

The former Blackburn Rovers ace might make his debut this weekend when the Saints travel to Swansea City, Downes’ previous club.

Downes, who is on loan from Premier League club West Ham, thinks that January arrivals are critical to giving the Saints “a boost”.

He told the Daily Echo, “He looks really fantastic. He has trained with us, and he appears to be sharp.

“I believe you should bring in new faces in January. It offers you a small boost.

 

Flynn Downes makes major West Ham admission and reveals David Moyes talks  after Southampton loan - HampshireLive

 

“He’s a good player. He played extensively in the Premier League last year and performed admirably.

“Everyone knows he’s got that class. If you watch any of his past games, you can tell he is a good player.

“We are looking forward to having him participating. “Our midfield is so strong because everyone brings something unique to the table.”

Based on the summer acquisitions, Rothwell will need time to adjust to Martin’s possession-based strategy.

Rothwell has also not started a league game since August, with eight substitute appearances and one 90-minute runout in the cup since then.

Downes remarked, “Our styles are completely different. I doubt he’ll have had this experience with any other team.

“It takes time, but I believe he will get there. We have already done some shape work.

“He looked nice. I’m confident he’ll figure it out quickly and get going.”

Downes and former Swansea City teammate Ryan Manning have already taken on additional tasks this season.

 

The duo have been able to pass on their experience from previous Championship seasons under Martin to fresh players.

“Of course.” This happens all the time. “You need to play games and watch the boys play,” Downes said.

“It’s great that we have games every Saturday; we’ll have time to implement improvements. I’m confident he’ll pick things up soon.

It gives Downes and his midfield colleagues another body to compete with. Rothwell appears to be a better match for the midfield eight position.

That would pit him against Will Smallbone and, when he returns from the Africa Cup of Nations, Joe Aribo – but no one is safe.

Downes stated, “It’s an added motivation. You need the competition. I believe that even without him around, I still have that on me.

“If I perform badly, I will not play the next game; it is that simple. I just focus on what I’m doing and keep trying to help the squad.”

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