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In from the cold: Tadanari Lee back in Poch's plans
Tadanari Lee is hoping to mark a triumphant return to the first team squad against West Ham tomorrow.
The Japanese star appeared to be heading out of the Saints exit door as he seemed surplus to requirements.
However, Emmanuel Mayuka’s loan switch to Sochaux opened up the chance for a striker to be drafted back into Mauricio Pochettino’s plans and Lee, who arrived in 2012 but spent much of last season on loan at FC Tokyo after finding games hard to come by, got the nod ahead of Billy Sharp.
Pochettino explained: “We were not expecting Mayuka to leave but he went on loan to Sochaux and we had to fill in that place with an extra player.
“We thought Tadanari Lee was perfect for it because he had shown the right attitude, the right professionalism.
“It’s now clear the team is very much closed and the team we have now is the team.”
He added: “We had Mayuka leave on loan and we had one more spot left to cover.
“We prefer to have someone in the club to cover that than sign another player.
“We have seen his attitude during this entire time and his professionalism when he was playing with younger players.
“Upon seeing that he was well deserving of that chance so that’s how we came to that decision.
“(He brings) A very good attitude, a very professional attitude to train with the squad.
“He’s a very mobile striker, he can fall to the wings very quickly, he can associate himself with other players very well, he’s very quick, he’s very aggressive.
“We hope his fitness levels can go back to normal as quick as possible but we do know that’s he’s very much available for the team, is willing to get in the team and give us his best performances.”
The Mayuka move was something of a surprise but Pochettino said he simply would not give any player a guarantee of regular first team football.
“When players are offered the guarantee that they are going to play more minutes in their new team then they take up that chance,” he explained.
“Perhaps here he wouldn’t have played that many minutes as he would at Sochaux so he took that chance.“As a manager I am never going to guarantee minutes to anyone.”
Sharp is set to remain out of the squad with Saints continuing to work on a loan move for him.
The striker does not figure in Mauricio Pochettino’s plans and the club are hunting for a side to take him on.
There has been plenty of reported interest after the loan window opened for the Football League but as of yet no move has been made.
Pochettino though insists his views on the issue have not changed and he would like to find a club at which Sharp can play regularly.
The former Doncaster man has most recently been linked with a move to Reading, where he would join up with Nigel Adkins, the man who signed him for Saints.
“The situation hasn’t really changed,” said Pochettino.
“My position on the matter is clear. I have made it clear in the past.
“The club is trying to find an exit for him and a club he can play at but the situation hasn’t really progressed
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