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Poch backs young keeper
Paulo Gazzaniga is set to start in goal for the first time in over a year tonight, with Mauricio Pochettino saying he has “full confidence” in his young keeper.
Artur Boruc’s broken hand and an injury to club captain Kelvin Davis means that the 21-year-old will represent Saints’ last line of defence against Aston Villa, at St Mary’s.
Gazzaniga has not started a match since December 1 last year, when he played in a 1-0 defeat at Liverpool.
After a series of mistakes, he was dropped by then-manager Nigel Adkins, but his latest boss says the Argentine stopper has shown significant improvement since that time.
“We do think that he’s a better goalkeeper, that he’s progressed, that he’s learnt a lot,” said Pochettino.
“He’s still very young, but, as is always the case, you can learn a lot from making mistakes and that, I think, has been his case.
“We’re very happy with his progress, with the work that he’s put in, the way that he’s matured as a goalkeeper.”
Pochettino added: “We have full confidence in Paulo Gazzaniga.
“We’re really happy with his work that he’s been doing, that he’s been doing ever since I arrived at the club.”
Boruc injured his hand in the 3-1 defeat at Chelsea on Sunday, colliding with a post during the build-up to the Blues’ equaliser.
He was taken to hospital after the game for x-rays, with scans revealing a break.
“Artur has an injury in his hand and it’s difficult to know right now exactly how many weeks he is going to be out, but we do know he is going to be out for some weeks,” said Pochettino.
Saints’ goalkeeping problems have been exacerbated by a glute injury suffered by Kelvin Davis in the lead-up to the match at Arsenal last month.
“Kelvin suffered a knock before the Arsenal game and that has not allowed him to train properly,” said Pochettino.
“He’s following a treatment as well that’s not allowing him to train properly, and that’s his problem.
“It’s hard to know when he’s going to be back to training, to be back to being fit.”
Pochettino did indicate, however, that he did not expect Davis to be a long-term absentee.
With Gazzaniga set to start, 20-year-old American keeper Cody Cropper is likely to be on the bench this evening.
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