Southampton boss Claude Puel offers a fitness update on Ryan Bertrand

Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand after the match

Puel is seemingly taking no chances with his left-back's fitness.

Southampton manager Claude Puel

Southampton manager Claude Puel has confirmed that left-back Ryan Bertrand will not be available for their opening game of the season against Watford.

The defender has suffered a knee injury similar to a problem he had last season, although the Saints boss did not seem worried about the injury, suggesting it is not serious. 

Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand after the match

Puel is quoted in the Daily Echo, saying: “It’s not important, just something with his knee. He has the same thing as last year. It’s important at the beginning of the season to stay quiet and calm.

“There’s a lot of games for the future. It’s important to keep Ryan in good form.”

It does seem that the Saints boss is taking more of a cautious route with Bertrand. Puel went on to explain the importance of the full-backs in his side, saying they need to keep running as well as be players with decent technical ability, as the full-backs are relied upon to provide the natural width when operating a system which has a diamond shaped midfield.

Southampton's Ryan Bertrand in action with Crystal Palace's Jason Puncheon

Bertrand seems to have the capabilities to fit into any system when he plays in his preferred role and the 27-year-old has all the attributes for a good 90 minutes of work every week by making a contribution at both ends of the field.

But no one wants to aggravate what appears to be a minor injury for the time being, especially if it is something that has caused one or two problems before and Puel is wise to call upon the other options at his disposal before allowing Bertrand to return to action.

Southampton manager Claude Puel

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