Ronald Koeman rates Graziano Pelle as one of best strikers in Premier League
Ronald Koeman has praised Graziano Pelle as "one of the best" strikers in the Premier League.
The Italy international has so far this season scored seven goals in all competions - nine if including his two with the Italian national team - and is on Saturday again expected to start for Southampton when they host Leicester.
As well as scoring Southampton's third goal in the 3-1 victory at Chelsea prior to the international break, Pelle impressed with the winning goal in Italy's recent 2-1 defeat of Norway.
Following a promising start to last season that ended with him in less impressive form, Koeman believes he has rediscovered his confidence and can eclipse last season's total of 16.
"Normally in my opinion a striker of (Manchester) City, Chelsea, United or Arsenal, they are creating more chances to score," the Southampton manager said.
"The chances to score are more often than strikers of Southampton or other teams but it his level, and his scoring goals is very good and I think he can beat his number of goals that he scored last year.
"He's a very complete striker, he's not only physically strong, he knows what happens around him, has good technique, is tall but he's not slow, his co-ordination's very good.
"He's every time more clever in the box, has a good header, is a good finisher, and is in my opinion one of the best.
"The best example is how good he is as a player at this moment, that he is the No 9 of the national team of Italy, without any discussion. That's maybe the best way to explain how good Pelle is."
In addition to the return of Pelle from international duty, Koeman again has Jordy Clasie available for selection and could give the midfielder his Premier League debut against Claudio Ranieri's team.
Shane Long returned from playing for the Republic of Ireland with injured ankle ligaments, however, though given he was an unused substitute against Chelsea the manager will not need to reshape his team.