Southampton forward Mané has been outstanding this season
Sadio Mané has been out of the standout performers at the beginning of the new campaign. Since Ronald Koeman’s arrival, Mané has sparkled at Southampton and has attracted attention from the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United.
In eleven matches, the Senegal international has scored three goals while assisting his team-mates for four more. In addition, he has been fouled 34 times so far this campaign and his ability to draw fouls is crucial for Southampton’s success. Here’s why he deserves a spot in the Premier League Team of the Year this season.
Mané has not allowed transfer rumours to affect his performance
Despite the links to Manchester United this summer, Mané has handled himself both impressive and professionally. He has completely ignored all of the off-field hype and placed all of his focus on Southampton. Mané’s commitment is clear for all to see and while he may move on from St Mary’s, Southampton’s fans will appreciate his efforts throughout the campaign.
He is a top talent and rumours are likely to continue throughout the season. Koeman has stated that whilst Mané is currently happy at Southampton, he will not stand in his way if the Senegal forward wishes to leave the club. Manchester United are still lacking pace on the wing and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Louis van Gaal’s men make a concrete bid in January.
Mané’s natural talent is clear for all to see
In terms of natural ability, Mané is Southampton’s greatest prospect. The Saints have had some incredibly young talents over the years; mainly Gareth Bale, Luke Shaw and Theo Walcott, and Mané has the potential to be world class. He’s already shown enough quality at the start of the campaign to demand attention from Europe’s elite clubs and is fully deserving of a place in the Team of the Year.
Mané continues to draw praise from journalists, pundits and ex-pros, which will only help his stock as the season goes on. The Senegal international’s versatility is one of his greatest traits and Koeman has already played him in a number of roles this season. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that he should feature in the Premier League XI, he is consistently excellent – no matter where he’s deployed.
Mané is willing to do his share of defensive work
The Southampton striker’s work ethic is often overlooked but he deserves to receive plenty of plaudits for his defensive efforts. Mané works hard and does his fair share of pressing and tracking back. While his main contributions are in attacking areas, it would be foolish to dismiss his reliability on the other side of the ball.
Mané isn’t afraid to get stuck in and won’t shy out of a tackle. Although this has cost him a number of yellow cards, Koeman has praised the forward for his closing down and ‘never-say-die’ attitude in attack. Mané has worked incredibly hard throughout his career and his work ethic on the pitch epitomises his entire character off the field.
Southampton are winning directly because of Mané’s contributions
Essentially, Saints are winning matches because of Mané’s performances. The Senegal striker is causing numerous problems for opposing sides and attracts attention away from the likes of Graziano Pellè and James Ward-Prowse. Southampton are unbeaten in their last six matches and Mané has shone in each of their four victories in this period.
Mané is capable of producing moments of individual brilliance, which is why he was so highly sought after in the summer. While he may leave St Mary’s in the future, he is, for the time being at least, a member of Southampton Football Club. And, if end-of-season awards were given out now, he’d be a member of the Premier League’s Team of the Year as well. Only time will tell but, if he continues in the same vein, he’s a shoe-in to feature at the end of the campaign – and deservedly so.
Does Sadio Mané deserve a spot in the Team of the Season or is it too early to justify his position just yet? Let us know your thoughts!