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Takumi Minamino will be afforded the minutes he was missing at Liverpool following his switch to Southampton, says Ralph Hasenhuttl, with the Saints boss backing the Japan international to thrive.
Having arrived at Merseyside at the start of 2020 - and with enough games last term to earn a Premier League winners' medal -Minamino has nevertheless found his chances limited this season.
His switch to the south coast of England from the north-west - a path well-furrowed in the opposite direction in recent years by players such as Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane - now presents him with a greater opportunity to impress, according to his new manager.
Speaking ahead of his side's trip to face the Magpies,Hasenhuttl revealed that he had discussedMinamino's potential with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp and hailed the 26-year-old's prowess ahead of his debut, backing him to follow in the footsteps of fellow Merseyside loanee Theo Walcott, who joined from Everton.
“I spoke with Jurgen," the former Leipzig coach stated . "He said he didn’t have the chance to give Minamino enough time to play. I’m sure when he played, he did good games and scored a few goals.
“He’s a very special player for me - not because of his physical strength but more of his way of playing football. He is very quick in his mind, has good decision-making, knows about our pressing style and hopefully a lot of running.
“He knows when you come to me you have to run a lot, but that’s not a problem for him. Although he didn’t play a lot in the past games, he’ll also need time to step up - but we had a good experience with Theo, who helped us immediately, and hopefully he does the same.”