Saints recall Stephens

LONDON: Southampton have recalled defender Jack Stephens from his loan spell at Middlesbrough because of his lack of game time, manager Ronald Koeman confirmed on Monday. The 21-year-old joined the Championship leaders in July but to Koeman’s frustration, he has made only five first-team appearances. Four of those five appearances came in the Capital One Cup, and Koeman told Southampton’s official club

website: “Jack is back from Middlesbrough. He wasn’t playing there and then why is he on loan if he doesn’t play? It’s better for him to come back.” Shortly before joining Middlesbrough, Stephens was given a two-year contract extension to keep him at St Mary’s until 2019. His return comes amid reports Koeman could prematurely terminate defender Steven Caulker’s season-long loan deal from Championship club QPR.