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Le Saux urges Saints to fight off interest in Shaw
GRAEME Le Saux has urged Saints to keep Luke Shaw longer than they did Gareth Bale.
Bale was a virtual unknown in the Saints Academy when Le Saux arrived for a two-year spell with the club almost a decade ago.
He made his debut within a year of Le Saux’s retirement before signing for Spurs after just one full season in the first team.
Spurs have also been linked with Shaw in recent weeks, while Arsenal’s interest has been well documented.
Shaw is the same age Bale was during his season as the club’s first-choice left-back – and is expected to sign a five-year deal when he turns 18 in July.
Le Saux hopes he stays for the duration.
The former England left-back said: “Gareth was being mentioned as a promising player when I was at Southampton and it’s been great to see him fulfil his potential over the years.
“Southampton should be very proud of their involvement in the development of players like him, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
“But if I was manager of Southampton I would want to convince the club to keep players like Luke for a few more years.”
Le Saux saw Shaw live up to his burgeoning reputation during the 3-1 win against Liverpool at St Mary’s on Saturday, before pulling out of tonight’s England Under-21 friendly against Romania.
He continued: “I’ve been very impressed, he’s obviously fit and confident and very fast up the flank. He’s often marauding forward and getting a good cross in.
“Full-backs who get forward and create chances like Luke and Nathaniel Clyne are absolutely vital, especially with teams tending to play much more narrowly these days.
“Luke’s had a wonderful first season and generated a lot of interest and speculation which can only be positive.
“He can become a wonderful player and, realistically, Southampton can’t hold players back and stop them from fulfilling their potential.
“But there’s a balance and it would be good to see them keep hold of their young players for longer than they have done in the past, which will help establish them in the Premier League again and attract more players.
“Southampton can’t compete with the biggest clubs but they’ve created a fantastic environment in which to nurture players.
“It’s a really happy place for young players and that counts for a lot.”