Watch: Russell Martin's brillant defence of Gavin Bazunu

Watch: Russell Martin's brillant defence of Gavin Bazunu

SOUTHAMPTON HEAD COACH Russell Martin has jumped to the defense of his goalkeeper, Gavin Bazunu, after the Irish keeper came under fire for his performance in the 4-4 draw with Norwich on Saturday.

The Dublin native arrived at Southampton from Manchester City in the summer of 2022 and quickly became the club's first choice. However, it has not been plain sailing for Bazunu.

Bazunu was part of a Southampton side that was relegated last year. The former Shamrock Rovers star conceded 56 times in 32 appearances and lost his place towards the end of the campaign to No. 2 Alex McCarthy.

The Dubliner also came under fire from Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher back in May, with the Liverpool legend calling the 21-year-old Dubliner ‘a big problem.'

The 21-year-old has since become number 1 as the club fights to make it out of England's second tier, but has had to face questions over his ability once more.

Martin, who took over as 'The Saints' in May, was asked at the BBC Solent Fans’ Forum event at St Mary’s on Tuesday evening if the goalkeeping situation was an issue and claimed that he didn't feel it was something that needed to be fixed at the club.

A viral video of the exchange has been likened to Harry Redknapp's passionate defense of Frank Lampard, when fans questioned the signing of the young England international/

"We don't have a problem with the goalkeeper in my opinion. We have a full international who is 20 years old," said Martin. "He will take unbelievable learning from last season playing in the team that finished bottom of the Premier League. That's not easy for a goalkeeper, and it's definitely not easy for a young goalkeeper. Alex McCarthy is a really experienced number two, Joe Lumley is a really experienced number three. We have real strength in that department.

“I've been made aware of this narrative around Gav. Last season has happened; you can't impact that. What he can impact is that he’ll be one of the best goalkeepers in the division for how we want to play. If I was going to look at a goalkeeper, I'd want to go and sign Gavin Bazunu. His mentality and how he's been, how he's trained, and how he played on Saturday - he can't do anything.

Martin also shifted the blame to the defenders in front of Bazunu. The Southampton boss has backed the Irish star to become a major asset for the club in the future. Bazunu has just been asked to maintain the highest standards at St. Mary's this season.

"Like I said after the game, he doesn't deserve to concede four goals, and it’s not his problem at all; it’s the guys in front of him, and we will learn from him," he added. "So I can only speak from my short time here, but Gavin is going to be a brilliant goalkeeper. He can be a huge asset to this club on the pitch financially, whatever you want to call it.

And as long as he maintains the standards he's had in the last six weeks, we'll be more than fine, and he has really capable people pushing him every day in training to make sure we bring the best out of him."

Southampton play Plymouth Argyle on Saturday