The Southampton Academy
The Southampton Academy is one the most respected and productive in the country and can boast some very famous names amongst its former members. Legends such as Alan Shearer and […]
The Southampton Academy is one the most respected and productive in the country and can boast some very famous names amongst its former members. Legends such as Alan Shearer and Matt Le Tissier as well as modern day stars such as Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have all come through the ranks at St Marys. The sale of Oxlade-Chamberlain to Arsenal in the summer brought more attention to the academy and now three more players are hoping to make the grade and move up to the first team.
Luke Shaw is a 16 year old left back who grew in Kingston upon Thames.
On the 28th January he made his debut for the Saints in the FA Cup 4thround replay against Milwall. Shaw has played at left back for England U16 and U17 and has already been earmarked by Chelsea as a potential successor to Ashley Cole. As well as the Blues Shaw has also been tracked by Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal. With links already to Southampton through their purchases of Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain Arsenal will believe that they are in pole position but with the value of the player believed to be around £4 million any of the top clubs in the league could come in with a bid for him.
James Ward-Prowse made his debut at 16 against Crystal Palace in the Carling Cup on the 25thOctober. The Southampton management have high hopes this composed central midfielder.
Boss Nigel Adkins has described him as “energetic, enthusiastic and a great passer of the football” as well as being “intelligent with a great attitude.” Like Shaw he came through the academy and has trained with the first team on a number of occasions. Ward-Prowse has also played with his Southampton team mate for the England U17s and looks set to become a fully-fledged cultured midfielder.
Unlike his two team mates Jack Stephens didn’t come through the academy and was actually signed from Plymouth Argyle in April last year for £150,000.
Predominantly a right-back Stephens can also play at centre-back and has been heralded for his ability and willingness to get forward from the back. He made his debut for Southampton against Coventry in the FA Cup on 7th January and he made his debut for the England U18 against Poland on the 7th March this year.
Unquestionably all three have extremely bright futures and they all seem to feature heavily in Nigel Adkins’ plans. Despite the huge recent profits made by selling on youngsters Adkins has gone on record saying “We have no intention believe you me of letting any of our young players move on.” The first team has been performing very well in the Championship and are one of the fore-runners for promotion and this has been factored into Adkins’ planning. “We want them in the first team in the Premier League playing for Southampton football club.” Southampton is still however a growing club and if a sizeable bid came in for any of these starlets it would be interesting to see Adkins’ stance then. Regardless of this these players are clearly talented and hopefully Saints fans will be seeing them for many years to come.