Is Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin the most underrated player in the Premier League?

The French midfielder has been at the heart of Southampton's recent fine form, and the stats suggest that he is one of the best defensive midfielders in the league.

Discussions of who the most underrated player in the league tend to generally start and end by looking at a player from the biggest sides who perhaps isn't as consistently lauded as some of his team mates. Right now this seems to be Michael Carrick, who is an excellent player, but considering Manchester United paid £18 million for him, and he has played over 500 Premier League games and made 50+ Champions League appearances, underrated doesn't seem quite the right word.

As a player plying his trade in a side outside the top ten in the league, whose name most people wouldn't be comfortable spelling, Morgan Schneiderlin fits the bill far better. Schneiderlin has been quietly excellent in the past few months for Southampton, and looking at his stats in the Premier League, he should be rated amongst the best defensive midfielders the division.

No player has made as many tackles as Schneiderlin, and he has the highest tackles per game ratio as well. The 23 year old is also fifth in the interceptions table as well, with Sandro the only midfielder who is above him in the standings. Southampton's defence was appalling in the first few weeks of the season, but since then they have tightened up significantly, and Schneiderlin's imposing presence in front of the back four has been a crucial part of that.

Schneiderlin has been at the core of the Southampton side that has risen through England's league system so rapidly to regain their place in the Premier League. Few players has raised their game as consistently well as the young midfielder, and he now looks as comfortable playing against the likes of Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla as he did when he played in League 1 and the Championship.

If he maintains this level of performance, Schneiderlin will quickly draw plenty of attention to himself, and Southampton might well have yet another young talent they will need to fend off interest in. Given the standards he has set, it would be surprising if Schneiderlin is able to fly under the radar for much longer.

image: © ingythewingy

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