Claude Puel says Maya Yoshida deserved the captaincy against Norwich City for his performances so far this season.
Yoshida took the armband for the game against the Canaries in the Emirates FA Cup, as he captained a young Saints side to victory at St Mary’s.
Saints boss Puel says his displays and progress since the start of the campaign made him a worthy stand-in in the absence of José Fonte and Virgil van Dijk.
“Maya made a very good season, playing well in every moment and with good concentration, winning duels and giving satisfaction,” Puel said.
“He made good progress since the start of the season.
“With all of the young players around him it was important to give him the captain’s armband.
“That gave him the confidence and it’s deserved for him because of his excellent spirit for the team.”
Puel also praised Jack Stephens, who partnered Yoshida at the heart of the defence.
“It was good work from Yoshida and Stephens because it is important to keep the good concentration,” Puel said.
“To keep a clean sheet with few chances for the opponent is important. It was good for Jack because he played two games at right-back.
“It was important he started in his first position. I’m happy he stayed with a clean sheet and good concentration.”