Southampton-Leicester combined XI: Foxes dominate as Iheanacho, Man City loan pair make the cut

Lewis Oldham
Southampton vs Leicester
Kelechi Iheanacho, Harry Winks and Adam Armstrong.

Before Southampton and Leicester City clash at St Mary’s on Friday night, I’ve selected a combined XI of stars from the two Championship promotion rivals.


GK: Mads Hermansen (Leicester City)
We have not yet seen too much from Leicester City’s £5m new goalkeeper. He has a lot to do if he’s to fill the void left by Kasper Schmeichel but the early signs are promising.

The Foxes have joined Southampton (with Gavin Bazunu) in pinning their hopes on a young goalkeeper and Enzo Maresca’s new, slightly more experienced Danish shot-stopper looks the more assured of the two.


RB: Kyle Walker-Peters (Southampton)
This was a toughie. Both Walker-Peters and Ricardo Pereira were difficult to split but I ended up going for the two-cap England international.

Walker-Peters will perhaps feel hard done by that he has not been bought by a Premier League club this summer as he is one of very few Southampton players who can hold their head high after last season’s relegation.


CB: Taylor Harwood-Bellis (Southampton)
As you’ll see with Harwood-Bellis’ centre-back partner, I’ve gone for a youthful pairing with players who shone while on loan in the Championship last season and *should* be playing in the Premier League this term.

Manchester City youngster Harwood-Bellis would have been a sure-fire inclusion for the Championship team of the season if he was not absent for a couple of months during his Burnley loan due to injury. He’s now back in the second tier and vying for back-to-back promotions.


CB: Callum Doyle (Leicester City)
And here we have another Manchester City gem. The ball-playing defender was sensational for Coventry City last season and the Leicester City newbie is one of the Championship loan signings of the season.

Leicester combined XI
Callum Doyle and James McAteer in action for Leicester City.


LB: Ryan Manning (Southampton)
This was a pretty easy pick. One of the best wing-backs in the Championship last season with Swansea City, Manning was deserving of a Premier League summer transfer so Saints did bloody well to get him on a free transfer.


RM: Kasey McAteer (Leicester City)
This is where the Leicester domination really begins. To be fair to Southampton, Nathan Tella would have slotted in here nicely had the £23m winger not joined Bundesliga outfit Bayer Leverkusen before the summer window closed.

Tella’s departure made the right-wing spot a tougher one to fill, but I’ve gone for McAteer. Several Leicester players have already profited from the club’s relegation and the 21-year-old is thriving in the Championship with two goals in three games.


CM: Harry Winks (Leicester City)
Another player who should really be in the Premier League, Winks raised a few eyebrows when he ditched Tottenham for the Foxes after his morale-building loan spell in Serie A with Sampdoria.

The £10m England international has quickly proven that he is a level above the rest in the Championship, with his arrival setting Leicester up as favourites for the title.

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CM: Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (Leicester City)
After James Maddison and Harvey Barnes moved on, the remaining Leicester City mob needed to step up and Dewsbury-Hall has certainly done that.

The Liverpool-linked midfielder appears primed to reach his full potential this season and he’s enjoyed a dream start with three goal involvements in five games.


LM: Stephy Mavididi (Leicester City)
Time for another of Leicester City’s summer signings. Maresca will have a fair few selection headaches this season and the Foxes are particularly strong in attacking areas.

Former Arsenal academy product Mavididi is back in England after three stellar years in Ligue Un with Montpellier, with Leicester buying him for around £6.5m. As replacements for Barnes go, he’s a pretty good one.


ST: Adam Armstrong (Southampton)
Relax Saints fans, there’s room for one more of your players…

Armstrong struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League but the Championship specialist has returned to his best in the early stages of this season. He’s already equalled his league goal tally from his two top-flight seasons as he’s scored four goals in five outings this term.


ST: Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City)
Leicester having Iheanacho, Jamie Vardy, Patson Daka and now Tom Cannon to choose from is not fair on their Championship rivals and they should not be short of goals during their tilt at promotion.

Iheanacho has emerged as Maresca’s first-choice attacker in the early weeks of this season. He’s yet to get off the mark with a Championship goal and my advice to him is to pretend that he’s playing in the FA Cup all season. If he does, Aleksandar Mitrovic’s 43-goal record from 2021/22 will be in sight.

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