Southampton might be new to the Premier League this season, but they have had a big impact on England's elite for many years, despite a seven-year absence from the top flight.
Some people may not realise just how many first-class players the south coast club have produced from their famed academy. The likes of Theo Walcott & Gareth Bale have come through the ranks at Southampton, whilst 17-year-old Luke Shaw is the latest prodigy to make the step up into the first-team.
Shaw has been linked with the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal in recent months after impressing in his debut season, and Southampton's conveyor belt of talent shows no signs of slowing either. Matt Targett, also 17, is already regarded as Shaw's long-term successor, despite having never made a first-team appearance.
The following list is a look at three of the best players to have come through the Southampton academy in recent years, but do you agree with the selection? Get in touch and let us know.
3) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain | Arsenal
The Arsenal winger has made his mark in the past two seasons at the Emirates and is a lot like Walcott in the way that he utilises his pace. The Arsenal fans have nicknamed him 'The Ox', deriving from part of his surname 'Oxlade' also due to his physical tenacity and his powerful playing style. He made his debut for Southampton at the age of 16 years and 199 days, becoming the club's second youngest appearance just after Theo Walcott.
2) Theo Walcott | Arsenal
The English right-winger, who can also play as a striker, has an outstanding amount of pace that is sure to leave the defender wanting. Once he gets past you, there is no catching him although his final ball remains his biggest weakness. The former Southampton man recently signed a new contract with Arsenal after intense speculation about Walcott's long-term future.
1) Gareth Bale | Tottenham
The Welsh winger spearheads the list with his amazing pace, dribbling and shooting. Bale did not make that much of an impact at Tottenham in his first few seasons, however in the 2009/10 season he really came into his own after replacing Benoit Assou-Ekotto due to injury. At the end of the campaign he was rewarded with a new contract to keep the vultures from circling. Bale has been praised from all corners of the footballing world after some world-class displays for Tottenham.
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