Journalist Tom Barclay thinks Southampton plan to be patient with teenager Thierry Small before bringing him into their first-team setup.
What's the latest news on Small?
It has been reported that Small did not take part in a training session for almost four months prior to joining Southampton, so he has had to bide his time in terms of getting game time on the South Coast.
He has started to feature more regularly in recent weeks, though, for the club's Under-23s, and he scored his first goal of the campaign in front of first-team manager Ralph Hasenhuttl on Sunday during a 4-0 win over Aston Villa.
The 17-year-old will now hope that he can kick on after starting to make a breakthrough following his summer move.
What has Barclay said about Small?
Barclay does not seem to be surprised that Small is yet to make his senior debut for Southampton, claiming that the club's plan is for him to thrive in the youth side before making the step up to the first-team down the line.
Speaking about the youngster, he told GIVEMESPORT: “I believe when he was brought in the idea was for him to go into the sort of ‘B’ team, and then long-term plan from that side.”
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When could Small break into the Southampton first-team?
Right know, it seems that Small still has plenty of work to do before Hasenhuttl considers promoting him to the senior ranks.
Southampton appear to be well-covered when it comes to full-backs, with Tino Livramento making the right-back spot his own, while Romain Perraud is beginning to settle in on the left flank after his summer arrival from Brest.
Meanwhile, Kyle Walker-Peters has demonstrated over the past 12 months that he is capable of covering either position, so it is not easy to see how Small jumps ahead of any of these players in the pecking order any time soon.
However, he seems to be building his fitness with the Under-23s, and Hasenhuttl has shown that he is happy to give young players a chance by throwing Livramento straight into the team at the start of the season.
This should give Small encouragement that if he begins to find form, he could be the next teenage talent from Staplewood to get a call-up to the first team.
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