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Gallagher fires hat-trick reminder to Pochettino
Sam Gallagher sent Mauricio Pochettino a timely reminder that he is ready for first team action after smashing in a superb hat-trick as Saints hammered arch rivals Pompey 7-0 in the FA Youth Cup at St Mary’s.
The 18-year-old striker has been on the bench for Saints in recent weeks but is still awaiting a Premier League debut.
He stepped back down to lead the line for Jason Dodd’s under-18 team in tonight's third round tie and underlined his rapid progress with a hat-trick to steal the headlines in what was a superb all-round team performance.
Dodd reflected: “Sammy G is in and around the first team and that shows the strides he’s been making and I think he’s put a little message out to the boss.
“He’s been on the bench and he’s got goals in him.
“Earlier in the season he wasn’t as clinical but he put some great goals away.
“He’s been really happy with his progress.
“He’s been asking us questions and been in and around the first team for the last four-six weeks and that’s why he’s also progressed up to the under-21s.
“The manager has seen something in him and we’ve noticed just since he’s come back training on the pitch that he’s got the hunger and he’s used to first team training, which is a lot more intense than what we do.
“We try and push ours but when you’re training with top Premier League players every day you will get better and that’s what you’re seeing with Sam.”
On an evening when so many Saints youngsters shone brightly, Dodd was delighted that his young players handled the pressure of playing in front of nearly 4,000 supporters at St Mary’s.
“We have been questioning them because we weren’t sure whether we would be able to adapt,” said the Saints legend, who is assisted by another former first teamer in the shape of Paul Williams.
“We were lucky. We had Calum Chambers and Harrison Reed come in the dressing room before the game and they both played here last season.
“Calum said when he had a little chat that he was poor here last season for the under-18s and then he got around the first team and knows what he’s doing now.
“It just shows you now that we are in the next round and if we get another tie here hopefully it will be a springboard to put on another performance like we’ve done.”
He added: “The performance was fantastic.
“We’ve been lucky enough that we’ve had players jump from the under-18s into the first team.
“Our boys if they’re not able to do what Luke (Shaw) and Calum and Harrison have done they need to get in the under-21s, play consistently well and we know the manager is always looking, always asking questions and in the first team game on Saturday there was four 18-year-olds on the pitch.
“It’s easy to motivate my players because they know there’s an opportunity if they are doing it to be in and around the first team or the under-21s which is what it’s about.”
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