Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughHomage to the Southampton academy - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Homage to the Southampton academy - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Homage to the Southampton academy

Whilst reading through Twitter today I saw Stan Collymore bring up an issue regarding youngsters at clubs and how big clubs often only sign promising youngsters so no one else can have them. Now this got me thinking which clubs have produced talented youngsters who have gone on to play at the top level either with them or at another club and in some cases even represent their country at major tournaments. Now I know that every club has their fair share of youngsters come through but Southampton seem to have that knack at academy level of nurturing talent and allowing youngsters to develop into special players.

        When you look at the players that have come through their academy the list is quite remarkable of course including the current PFA player and young player of the year Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain both now at arsenal and have represented England at major tournaments, Wayne Bridge a former regular for Chelsea and you can’t forget Saints legend Matthew Le Tissier who also came through their youth set up and went on to play over 400 games for them.

They haven’t sold on all their best talents though, in their current playing squad they have promising left back Luke Shaw and James Ward Prowse as well as their club captain Adam Lallana who have all come through the youth system at St Mary’s. They have all also proved they have great potential as top flight players with Luke Shaw being heralded as the next big thing and a future England left back.

Southampton went through some tough financial times with their relegation from the Premiership and subsequently going into administration added to their misery as they dropped into league one. Although if you asked anyone at the club now do they wish they still had any one of Gareth Bale, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott of course they’re going to say yes but their financial troubles meant letting go of their promising assets was necessary.

It’s a testament to all those involved with the Saints youth set up though that despite the tough times they have managed to make their way back to the top flight through a mixture of putting faith in youth and getting experienced professionals on board to compliment that youth as well as the assured management of Nigel Adkins.

Southampton thoroughly deserved their back to back promotions to the top flight and they thoroughly deserve to be in the Premiership. They have since departed with Nigel Adkins and welcomed the arrival of Maricio Pochettino in somewhat controversial circumstances for the fans but they have since been won over by the Spaniard.

They currently sit in the precarious position of 14th only four points above relegation but a win in either of their last two games against Sunderland or Stoke will see them safe. It would be a shame for them if they were to be sucked into relegation on the last weekend but they will be hopeful of avoiding that.