Boasting one of the most productive youth academies in the country, Southampton are at it again with a host of new young stars on their way.
Luke Shaw is currently the brightest talent at the club and has established himself as the Premier League side’s first choice left back at the age of 17, having been earmarked as a potential England replacement for Ashley Cole in years to come.
In addition, James Ward-Prowse, 18, has also been a squad member for much of the season with regular opportunities from the substitute’s bench in the past few matches. The side are also led by a local lad, with Adam Lallana skippering the side this season, having made his way through the academy process at Staplewood.
Looking back, the south coast outfit have a long list of names they can boast about producing. From the Wallace brothers, Matthew Le Tissier and Alan Shearer, to the newer generation of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Southampton have continued to produce year after year and in 2013 they will be looking to do so again after being granted category one status for the Premier League’s new Elite Player Performance Plan.
Shaw was recently rewarded for his fine form with a call-up to the England Under-21 squad only to have to withdraw through injury. Ward-Prowse and fellow midfielder Calum Chambers have both been called into the England Under-19 squad where they have both featured previously.
Another name to watch closely is that of Ryan Seager, the 17-year-old is currently the top scorer for the Southampton Under-18 side who sit second in the Elite group of the Barclays U18 Premier League, and he was also involved with England at Under-17 level in the recent Algarve tournament.
They will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of Walcott and Bale, who has become one of the hottest stars in world football of late, into the limelight by graduating from the highly recognised academy in the near future.
After Chairman Nicola Cortese confirmed that the club will look to employ 50% of its first-team squad with members of the academy, it should not be long before the next set of stars come to fore at St. Mary’s Stadium.
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