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Calum's another rising star
7:00am Saturday 14th December 2013 in Sport
A large chunk of the media has been waxing lyrical about Saints’ academy and the club’s importance to England team over the last few months.
That comes as no surprise with a healthy splattering of Mauricio Pochettino’s players in the Three Lions set-up – from senior to youth ranks, writes PETER HOWARD. The elevation of Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert into fully fledged England players has been impressive.
Equally as remarkable is Luke Shaw and James Ward-Prowse’s presence in the Under-21 team.
But Calum Chambers’ rise through the St Mary’s ranks, as well as the national squad, is one of the most noteworthy of any of the English contingent’s achievements.
The Under-19s captain was promoted to Saints first team duties ahead of the 2012/13 season. He Hejasj He made his sole appearance, of that season, and debut in the 4-1 win over Stevenage in the Capital One Cup in August 2012. Originally dubbed a “tall, talented and creative winger with good awareness and quality product,” in Saints’ Academy profiles for 2011, in Chambers’ first appearance at Stevenage he was deployed as a full-back. That is the position where he has now become back-up for Nathaniel Clyne at Saints, but while he has filled in the gaps where necessary for Clyne domestically, he has been running the show for his country.
For the Under-19s he is captain after taking over from Ward-Prowse as skipper and leading the youngsters to an unbeaten run and qualification to the European U19 Championship in Hungary next year. It has been a season of firsts for the 18-year-old with his Premier League bow coming just before captaining the Young Lions for the first time. He was brought in as cover for the injured Clyne for the opening game of the season in 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion, with Ward-Prowse, Shaw and Chambers playing it meant Saints fielded three 18-year-olds in that game. It was calculated that, in the 8,000 matches played since the first Premier League season there had only been a few occasion when a team started with two 18-year-olds, let alone three.
Chambers has already made seven appearances this season and will be amongst the squad for today’s game at Newcastle United - with Clyne remaining sidelined. It is at right-back that Saints, arguably, have the most hotly contested competition for places.
Clyne and Chambers are among the most highly rated defenders in the country and have drawn acclaim for their undoubted talent.
So far, Cyne has held tight in his position but, as Chambers continues to develop and skipper his country, there will be no doubt that Pochettino will have a real dilemma on his hands to select between the two.
As Chambers clearly possesses versatility – with the Saints player profiles maintaining his “main strengths lie in midfield positions,” – he could, therefore, be considered cover for a number of positions.
Chambers was born in Petersfield, Hampshire and signed a four-year contract earlier this summer with Saints having returned from pre-season training camps with the first-team in Spain and Austria.
His decision to stick with Saints was echoed by Shaw, and fellow youngsters Lloyd Isgrove, Jordan Turnbull, Jack Stephens and Ward-Prowse, with all of them putting pen to paper on long-term deals.
He first appeared in a Three Lions strip when he was selected for John Peacock’s Under-17s for the 2012 Algarve Tournament.
From that point, he has quickly made the step from youth team player at Saints to first-teamer and to Under-19s skipper.
Chambers’ fledgling career is on an exciting trail and it will be interesting to see how Pochettino deploys him in the future.
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