Poch hails club's supply of young talent

Basingstoke Gazette: Mauricio Pochettino Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino has revealed the “natural process” Saints have established to ensure their young players continue to filter into the first team.

Pochettino was in the stands on Tuesday night to watch the club’s under-18s thrash Portsmouth 7-0 in the FA Youth Cup, a game which featured a hat-trick from Sam Gallagher, the latest youngster to have had a taste of life with the first team squad.

It is a delicate balancing act to ensure the progress of youngsters through the under-18s, the under-21s and into the first team, but Pochettino revealed Saints have a well thought out plan to achieve just that.

“I think the process we have here at Southampton is a natural process,” explained the man who had four 18-year-olds on the pitch at the end of last weekend’s 1-1 draw with Manchester City.

“As we execute it today the younger players take everything step by step, so maybe they will be training one day with the first team, then maybe the next week training two days with the first team, then the next week perhaps on the teamsheet to be on the bench, then they will drop off.

“For them they actually become part of the first team without actually realising it, so it is a natural process.

“What’s clear is that you cannot have an under-18 player today and put him in the first team tomorrow. That’s going to be unnatural, that’s not going to work.

“Here at Southampton we have a more natural process.

“We get players from the under-18s, the under-21s and we get them involved little by little, not just sharing training sessions but living with the players, sharing moments with the players, getting them to be around the first team and the time they spend with the senior team makes them part of the senior team.”

Pochettino also laid out what he looks for when he watches young players developing.

“We take all the factors into account but more than anything we analyse how they grow,” he said.

“It is clear that if a player is already part of the under-18s it’s because he has the quality to be there.

“They are part of a natural selection if you will on how they get to the under-18s and what their future can be in the senior team.

“They have to go through those experiences and experience many things to be part of the first team.

“It’s also clear that aside from the collective we evaluate them individually.

“We evaluate how their individual process is going and nurture them to become part of the first team.”

Gallagher has stolen a few headlines following his hat-trick after a recent spell on the bench with the first team but Pochettino is urging patience with him and the rest of his youngsters.

“I think we need to give him time and not just Sam Gallagher, but a large percentage of the players that played in that game. They could have their chance with the first team.

“We need to be patient with them overall and understand that every single case involves an individual and that they all need their own individual time to progress, mature and be part of the team.”

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