Jesus Perez has called on Saints fans not to pressure Sam Gallagher into being an instant replacement for Dani Osvaldo.
The 18-year-old starlet, who has been at the club for two years after joining from Plymouth Argyle, came off the bench to score his first senior goal in the FA Cup win over Yeovil.
Gallagher, from Crediton in east Devon, almost bagged a couple more too in an impressive display and looks like he could be the next hot young talent to come through at St Mary’s.
After the game many people were talking about whether Gallagher will provide Saints the necessary back-up should troubled Osvaldo leave before the transfer window closes on Friday evening.
However, Saints assistant boss Perez sounded a cautionary note.
He said: “He needs time and to work hard. It’s difficult for the young players with pressure, especially at a young age.
“Like other big talents we have at the academy, he needs time and work.
“He is still 18 so he needs to develop his body and his abilities but obviously he’s a great talent.
“It wouldn’t be fair to talk about not all the young talent because if we focus maybe only on one player maybe it’s not good for him.
“It’s better for Sam to stay relaxed and without pressure.
“Obviously if you appear in the first team and you play Premier League or FA Cup games you are in the spotlight, but it’s good for him to stay relaxed.
“He’s a good guy, he’s a very clever player, but he needs time to improve.”
Gallagher bagged a hat-trick for Saints in the FA Youth Cup third round tie against Portsmouth but will have to wait and see whether he is able to play when his young colleagues face Charlton on Wednesday night.
That’s because he could be in first team action as Saints face Arsenal in the Premier League tomorrow.
“We will see how he’s doing. Obviously he is still young and we have to be patient with him because it’s the same when the players appear in the first team there is a big explosion and then after it becomes a difficult situation for all youngsters,” said Perez.
“The most important thing when you are playing in the first team is to be consistent, and to be consistent you need to train more, you need to play minutes.
“He’s an important player and the situation at the moment we are with a couple of injuries is he’s one player more to help the first team.”