Russell Martin explains Carlos Alcaraz lack of Southampton game time ahead of Leeds United clash

The Argentinian midfielder has started only three games for Southampton under Russell Martin and the Saints boss has now explained why the 20-year-old has not featured.
Russell Martin has explained why attacking midfielder Carlos Alcaraz has not featured as much as expected for Southampton so far this season.

The Argentine, who joined the club in January and was one of few players to impress during the final months of Southampton’s time in the Premier League, was an unused substitute on the weekend as Saints lost 2-1 to Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.

The 20-year-old’s last start for the club came against QPR back in August, with Alacaraz limited to cameos off the bench during the defeats against Sunderland, Leicester City and Ipswich Town for a combined total of 85 minutes.

Martin admitted to BBC Radio Solent this weekend that knew he would be criticised for not bringing Alacarz on against Boro but said there was more to his lack of game time than meets the eye.

He said: “I see the players every day. When you are asking people to play a certain way – Charly is a young man and doesn’t speak the language well, if at all. We are asking him to play in a team with a lot of structure and there are things he knows he needs to do better.

“I said to Gilly [Matt Gill, assistant manager] that I will get criticised for not bringing him on, but it’s about who you trust at this moment in time. You’re either all in with the team or you’re not. At the minute, Charly needs to come over to that side really.”


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Martin also admitted that Alcaraz has been struggling with personal issues as well as losing two of his close friends in the dressing room this summer in compatriot Willy Caballero, who retired at the end of last season, and Brazilian centre-back Lyanco, who is on loan in the Qatar Stars League with Al-Gharafa.


“It’s been a difficult time for him,” added Martin. “He’s lost Willy and he’s lost Lyanco, his two best mates in the group. He’s a young man who is miles away from his home and he’s had some difficult news about his dad.

“He’s got all of that going on which people don’t see and don’t understand. We will help him through it and at some point he will be on the pitch for us and he will be fantastic, but now is not the right time while the team is struggling.”


Southampton are back in action this weekend as they host Leeds United at St Mary’s. The Whites were one of only two teams that Alcaraz didn’t face during the second half of the Premier League season in 2022/23.


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