What James Bree has done to seize Southampton opportunity explained

SAINTS manager Russell Martin insisted James Bree is “pushing” Kyle Walker-Peters at the club because of his “all-in” attitude.

Bree, 25, has played 90 minutes at left-back in the last two Championship games, impressing in a 2-2 draw at Preston North End and a 3-1 victory over Birmingham City.

They are the only league starts for the defender, with Martin naming competition Walker-Peters, a two-time England international, as one of the “best players in the league.”

Bree was signed by his former Luton Town manager Nathan Jones in January last season, after establishing himself as one of the best full-backs in the second tier.

Jones, on the other hand, was fired just weeks later, and he only appeared three times more under new manager Ruben Selles.

Martin told the Daily Echo of Bree’s comeback, “I probably end up spending more time with the guys who aren’t playing because they can do more on the pitch.”When I was a player, the biggest mistake was that the guys who weren’t playing got no special attention and just trained like the starters.

“That meant they deconditioned a little, and when their chance came, they weren’t prepared.” It is our responsibility to ensure that everyone is as fit as possible.

“They are involved in every bit of training and every bit of detail so that when they come onto the pitch, they are ready.”

“Breezy has been an amazing teammate, as has Joe Aribo – and I have to mention Joe, sometimes I embarrass him, but he’s an incredible teammate,” he continued.

“I’m sure he’ll get on the pitch at some point because of the way he trains and is all-in every day – he adds value to the team whether he’s playing or not.”

“We can accept it if you’re like that every day, but if you have a bad day, we can accept it.”

If you want to mope about not playing and not being the best version of yourself every day, that’s the only thing we can control.”


Southampton's James Bree makes summer ambitions known as Nathan Jones  sacking point made - HampshireLive


Bree, who performed best as a back-to-front counterattacking wing-back last season, has also been the victim of a complete system change.
Over the last year, he ranks in the top 1% of players in his position in non-top-five leagues for expected assists and shot-creating actions per 90 minutes.

Bree attempted eight crosses per 90 minutes during his last half-season at Luton Town, more than tackles, blocks, interceptions, and clearances combined.

Bree was downbeat in an interview with the Daily Echo earlier this season, following EFL Cup elimination at League Two Gillingham – his only other start.

“We try to speak to them and gain their trust in order to help them in other areas,” Martin continued, “but the part where we need them to be fully present is on the training pitch.”

“You can’t come into the pitch and perform as well as Breezy did if you aren’t there every day.” You simply cannot.

“It shows the younger players here that how you do something is how you do everything.” A passing drill is more than just that.

“Breezy does everything to the best of his ability with incredible technique and focus.” “He is a player we enjoy watching develop his understanding of.”The way he was asked to play is completely different from how he played at his previous club, so the transition was difficult for him.

“There’s a lot more to come from him, and Kyle knows he puts a lot of pressure on him; he has a really good player who has proven himself at this level and is fighting to go.”

“We now know he can play left back, right center half if necessary, and he has played in midfield in training.”

“It’s good to have someone who is flexible but it’s even better to have a character who is all-in and he is definitely one of those.”


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