Sport Harry Souttar focuses on Socceroos amid Premier League interest
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Harry Souttar focuses on Socceroos amid Premier League interest

High-flying Socceroos defender Harry Souttar is reportedly on the radar of several EPL clubs. Photo: AP
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Harry Souttar might be attracting the attention of the Premier League rumour mill, but the towering defender is more focused on helping the Socceroos to their first win over Japan in 12 years than murmurings about his future.

The towering centre-back’s impressive performances for Championship outfit Stoke City have led to reports of interest from Tottenham, Everton and Aston Villa, but it hasn’t fazed Souttar.

“I think it’s just all paper talk, to be honest with you,” Souttar told reporters on Sunday.

“There was a lot of things said, but I tend not to try and read it or try and get involved in it at all.

“We just started (the season in) October, the transfer market’s been and gone.

“My focus right now is solely on the Socceroos and as soon as I get back to club football it’s purely on Stoke City and trying to get the club promoted back to the Premier League.”

Souttar, 22, has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past two years.

When he made his Socceroos debut in 2019, Souttar was on loan at League One club Fleetwood Town, but has since become a fixture in Stoke City’s defence, where his development has rapidly accelerated.

“It’s a mix of things to be fair – I think playing as many games as I did out on loan really, really helped me,” he said.

“Last season was good, playing the amount of games I did at the Championship level, but this season I’ve just loved it because the crowds are back.

“I think that makes such a difference, I love it.

“All the young lads in the team at Stoke are just relishing playing in front of that sort of atmosphere every week.

“I can’t really describe it, it’s just amazing. The other night when we won 1-0 against West Brom it was absolutely rocking and nights like that is what we’ve got to strive for.”

After initially making his mark on the scoresheet at international level with six goals across his first five games, Souttar has since relished forming a central defensive partnership with Trent Sainsbury.

The Socceroos have conceded just three goals, and maintained five clean sheets, in Souttar’s eight caps.

The Socceroos, who sit top of group B, will be chasing their first win over the Samurai Blue, who are under pressure after two early losses, since 2009 – and their first ever victory over them in Japan, in Saitama on Tuesday night.

If Australia are to extend their winning streak to 12, a gritty defensive performance will be crucial, including quelling the influence of Kyogo Furuhashi, Ange Postecoglou’s key attacker at Celtic.

“We’re not stupid enough to think that they won’t carry a threat, but ultimately, we carry threats as well,” Souttar said.

“(Kyogo is) a different type of striker, to normally someone I’d face maybe in the Championship.

“But listen, we know he’s a good player, they’ll have good players all over the park and so will we – so hopefully that will make a great spectacle.”

-AAP