Who are the next Saints academy starlets to keep a close watch on?

Basingstoke Gazette: Matt Le Tissier Matt Le Tissier

SAINTS’ academy has long been the envy of the footballing world.

The great names to have come through the club’s youth ranks start way back when and takes in luminaries such as the Wallaces, Shearer, Le Tissier, Walcott, Bale and Lallana.

Saints are a club who in modern times have always invested in youth, and never been afraid to blood their best youngsters.

On Saturday, against the might of Manchester City, Saints finished with four 18-year-old academy products on the pitch.

Tonight’s FA Youth Cup third round tie at St Mary’s is a chance for fans to try and spot who the next star though the system might be.

Here we give a brief guide to some of the stars of Jason Dodd’s current under-18s team.

Marcus Barnes.

This season’s top scorer, with six goals, was signed to a professional contract just last week after turning 17, underlining the club’s faith in his ability.

The former Wolves man only joined the club on a full time basis in September but has already made a massive impression.

Tom Leggett.

The second year scholar has been an ever present for the under-18s in the league this season.

The right back has proved a consistent force for Jason Dodd’s team and has the inspiration of seeing Calum Chambers having broken into the first team as an 18-year-old in his position.

Jake Hesketh.

Comes into the Pompey game on a bit of form having scored against Leicester at the weekend to take his tally for the season to five.

The central midfielder was spotted by Saints scouts aged eight playing in a local youth tournament.

Josh Sims.

A big night for him as he had previously played for the Portsmouth academy.

The left sided winger has scored four goals for the under-18s this season and has impressed enough to also get a chance for the under-21s too.

Niall Mason.

Has proved himself a versatile player since joining the Saints academy just over a year ago.

Can play both as a central midfielder and a centre half.

The Lancashire-born player’s former clubs includes Blackburn Rovers and Real Madrid.

His Real sojourn began when his father Russell was working in Madrid.

Russell learned that Real were running a summer camp for kids.

He immediately enrolled Niall for a two-week course at the Bernabeu Stadium.

But the club was so impressed with his skills that it inducted him into its academy!

Comments (3)

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10:23am Tue 10 Dec 13

mbetts says...

Is the current youth team set up better than when Le Tiss, Shearer and Rod Wallace broke through? They were high profile, mainly because they were forwards, not Ray Wallace but he was carp we also bought in Maddison at the time, who was unfortunately competing with Le Tiss for the limelight, so gets forgotten, the current crop coming through aren't as attacking but will they flourish into better players? Shaw definitely, Ward-Prowse very likely especially if he can perfect his Beckhamesque free-kick once a couple of those sail in in a Premiership match his profile will go through the roof!
Is the current youth team set up better than when Le Tiss, Shearer and Rod Wallace broke through? They were high profile, mainly because they were forwards, not Ray Wallace but he was carp we also bought in Maddison at the time, who was unfortunately competing with Le Tiss for the limelight, so gets forgotten, the current crop coming through aren't as attacking but will they flourish into better players? Shaw definitely, Ward-Prowse very likely especially if he can perfect his Beckhamesque free-kick once a couple of those sail in in a Premiership match his profile will go through the roof! mbetts

10:31am Tue 10 Dec 13

Malcombe says...

It's to the advantage to all Parents of Children who want to be Professional Footballers that to be a "Student" at Southampton FC the wannabes will either make it or break it and the younger the better, the facilities are good and soon to be the best in Great Britain, the Manager Mauricio Potchettino and his Coaching Staff are proving to be the best in the Premiership, if Potchettino considers that a young boy is good then he must be good and he and his Coaches will make the boy go from good to a world class Player without pressure only careful nurturing, if one young boy is showing skills that stand out above the group the Manager /Coach of the boys will inform Potchettino and his Staff to have a look at this special talent. There is never a better time for young hopefuls to be involved and be part of Southampton Football Club, the standard has risen to another level due to the "Family atmosphere" the Chairman Cortese and Pochettino has brought to the Club so if the Parents think there Son is good take a trip to the Training ground at Staplewood where the first Team Squad Train most days from 10am and talk to the Manager or go to St Marys and talk to an Official of the Club
It's to the advantage to all Parents of Children who want to be Professional Footballers that to be a "Student" at Southampton FC the wannabes will either make it or break it and the younger the better, the facilities are good and soon to be the best in Great Britain, the Manager Mauricio Potchettino and his Coaching Staff are proving to be the best in the Premiership, if Potchettino considers that a young boy is good then he must be good and he and his Coaches will make the boy go from good to a world class Player without pressure only careful nurturing, if one young boy is showing skills that stand out above the group the Manager /Coach of the boys will inform Potchettino and his Staff to have a look at this special talent. There is never a better time for young hopefuls to be involved and be part of Southampton Football Club, the standard has risen to another level due to the "Family atmosphere" the Chairman Cortese and Pochettino has brought to the Club so if the Parents think there Son is good take a trip to the Training ground at Staplewood where the first Team Squad Train most days from 10am and talk to the Manager or go to St Marys and talk to an Official of the Club Malcombe

10:25pm Tue 10 Dec 13

OSPREYSAINT says...

The answer to the thread header appears to be "all of them"!
The answer to the thread header appears to be "all of them"! OSPREYSAINT

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