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Saints hit by stopper absence

12 Aug

Southampton boss Claude Puel will be without Ryan Bertrand for his first Premier League game when his side face Watford at St Mary’s.

Southampton: Saints hit by stopper absenceSouthampton: Saints hit by stopper absence

The 27-year-old England left-back picked up a knee injury in training following his return from Euro 2016.

Jose Fonte and Cedric Soares are doubts despite making a return to training this week, but Saints will be boosted by influential central defender Virgil van Dijk’s recovery from a knock.

Southampton could hand debuts to summer signings Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Jeremy Pied and Nathan Redmond against a Watford side who also have a new manager at the helm in Walter Mazzarri.

Puel, who is looking forward to getting to season up and running, said: “It is an exciting moment for me and it is the same for the players.

“It is the first game. It is always a special day. It is important for the players and the fans.

“Watford has a new manager and new players.

“It will be a challenge, they can play in different systems and can challenge with defenders.

“They have different possibilities but I will concentrate on us, it is more important for us to stay in possession.”

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