Big Vestergaard claim made for Leicester amid Souttar talk

Jannik Vestergaard of Leicester City (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)
Jannik Vestergaard of Leicester City (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images) /

Leicester City’s Jannik Vestergaard has made a blistering comeback after multiple seasons of being frozen out of the Foxes squad. Here is why.

Who would have thought the Danish international defender – dejected by supporters for staying at the club for more than he was welcome, cast aside by a crumpling head coach, and left stranded not even making the bench – would end up in the starting XI for the Foxes. To think he would have any place ahead of Australian defender Harry Souttar: truly a shock to my system.

Nevertheless, the Danish defender has performed admirably during his outings and none of the goals could be considered purely the fault of Vestergaard. The ‘Marescaball’ system does leave the three defenders exposed to counterattacks, and neither the Danish or English defenders (Callum Doyle) have been prepared positionally for those situations, so goals were conceded as a result. So, why not try Souttar?

Why Leicester City boss chose Vestergaard

Jordan Blackwell commented during a Q&A regarding the relevant positions of the two centre-backs. The context of the question is that there was an expectation that after a move did not materialise, that clearly Souttar is a superior defender to Vestergaard and that the Foxes will deploy the Australian as a result.

However, Blackwell does not believe this to be the case. Enzo Maresca prefers the playstyle offered by the tall Dane as opposed to what Souttar offers. Personally, I feel this is a travesty but the strategic reasoning is actually sound. Vestergaard does pass better. His few games for Leicester since Maresca joined does show a composure and neatness in short passing which is beneficial to the ‘Marescaball’ system.

Now then, Conor Coady is the preferred central defender to perform duties alongside the Belgian Wout Faes and Doyle, but Coady is injured, so Maresca has to make a choice between Vestergaard and Souttar. One is a better defender, the other more useful when we are in possession and attempting to recycle the ball without losing it. The Danish international does this very well and should be commended for gaining that starting spot he never had the chance at under Brendan Rodgers.

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I hope the King Power squad will eventually regularly feature James Justin and Harry Souttar alongside Faes and Ricardo Pereira, rather than a team which is susceptible to turnovers and counterattacks. Interestingly, this would unlock our midfield by not having to use both Harry Winks and Wilfred Ndidi in box-to-box roles. Instead, Cesare Casadei could finally nail the starting spot as the creative spark in attacking midfield.