Saints stars' rise from League 1 to the World Cup

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

First published in Sport Basingstoke Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Editor

THREE years ago today, Saints were in third division action at Colchester United.

In front of a few thousand fans at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain helped Nigel Adkins’ men triumph 2-0.

Back then, none of the trio could have ever dreamed that they would be contenders for a place in the England manager’s next World Cup finals squad.

Lambert had just turned 29, and had played his entire career in the lower divisions.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was only 17, and in his first full season as a regular in professional football.

Lallana was a playmaker for one of the better third division clubs.

As for Luke Shaw, he was no doubt playing for Saints’ under-16s on March 5, 2011.

Now all four could be playing in the same senior England side tonight against Denmark at Wembley tonight.

What an amazing day this truly is for Southampton FC and their much-vaunted academy.

The club have an amazing eighteen of their players on international duty – nineteen, if you include on loan striker Dani Osvaldo.

Never have so many of the club’s players all been selected for the countries on the same day.

In addition, another recent academy graduate – Ben Reeves – could make his senior Northern Ireland debut tonight.

Then there is Chamberlain, and don’t forget Theo Walcott would also have been included in Roy Hodgson’s squad had he not been injured.

It is also ironic that two of Saints’ Premier League regulars – Morgan Schneiderlin and Jose Fonte – are among those left behind at Staplewood this week. Yet again, and despite their impressive league performances, they have failed to be picked by France and Portugal respectively.

Two others, Jack Cork and Nathaniel Clyne, are no strangers to the international stage having been one-time under-21 regulars.

Saints have nine players in the England under-19, under-21 and senior squads tonight.

Manchester United and Chelsea have the same number, but some of their players are currently out on loan.

All nine Saints are very much at St Mary’s, and seven of those nine have come through the club’s academy (only Lambert and Jay Rodriguez have been signed from other clubs).

Three years ago, Saints had no players on senior international duty.

Today they have 12, plus seven at youth level.

If nothing else, that statistic underlines the remarkable progress Saints have made in the last 36 months.

From third division players to World Cup stars in that short period.

It would once have seemed almost an impossible journey.

After tonight, it could appear almost inevitable ....

Comments (5)

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8:22am Wed 5 Mar 14

Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says...

Oh dear. Shame about the glaring punctuation error matey.
Oh dear. Shame about the glaring punctuation error matey. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne
  • Score: -6

11:09am Wed 5 Mar 14

el caballo santos101 says...

what a great time it is to be a saint, might be worth remembering this story next time you start to moan that we lost to one of the best teams in the league after outplaying them for most of the game. just a thought.
what a great time it is to be a saint, might be worth remembering this story next time you start to moan that we lost to one of the best teams in the league after outplaying them for most of the game. just a thought. el caballo santos101
  • Score: 6

12:44pm Wed 5 Mar 14

Rising_Son says...

There year's ago today, I was at Colchester supporting Saints. We've come a hell of a long way in a very short time.
There year's ago today, I was at Colchester supporting Saints. We've come a hell of a long way in a very short time. Rising_Son
  • Score: 1

1:51pm Wed 5 Mar 14

SaintJD says...

el caballo santos101 wrote:
what a great time it is to be a saint, might be worth remembering this story next time you start to moan that we lost to one of the best teams in the league after outplaying them for most of the game. just a thought.
That was exactly what I was going to write. People need to remember that the bulk of our first team was still moulded in League 1, regardless of England and other call ups. Yes, they may get paid more, but I don't think we can start to look at these guys as lazy or distracted if they lose a couple of games.

Again, sadly, I wonder if the club would have been better to keep their talk of getting into Europe etc a private target, because expectations rise just too hard.

Spending money also adds pressure of course, but that seems to have been equally unnecessary because, essentially, our big money buys have added very little to the group we had already.

Cork, Lallana, Chambers, Shaw, Fonte, Lambert, J-Rod, Davis and Boruc have all come from a playing in the youth team or at a lower level (assuming you see Scotland as a lower level, which I do) and probably (this is a guess) at considerably less of an overall outlay than Dani Osvaldo's transfer fee.
[quote][p][bold]el caballo santos101[/bold] wrote: what a great time it is to be a saint, might be worth remembering this story next time you start to moan that we lost to one of the best teams in the league after outplaying them for most of the game. just a thought.[/p][/quote]That was exactly what I was going to write. People need to remember that the bulk of our first team was still moulded in League 1, regardless of England and other call ups. Yes, they may get paid more, but I don't think we can start to look at these guys as lazy or distracted if they lose a couple of games. Again, sadly, I wonder if the club would have been better to keep their talk of getting into Europe etc a private target, because expectations rise just too hard. Spending money also adds pressure of course, but that seems to have been equally unnecessary because, essentially, our big money buys have added very little to the group we had already. Cork, Lallana, Chambers, Shaw, Fonte, Lambert, J-Rod, Davis and Boruc have all come from a playing in the youth team or at a lower level (assuming you see Scotland as a lower level, which I do) and probably (this is a guess) at considerably less of an overall outlay than Dani Osvaldo's transfer fee. SaintJD
  • Score: -1

3:20pm Wed 5 Mar 14

justaSaintsfan says...

At last, Daily Echo, you are looking at the bigger picture of the remarkable, continuing progress of Saints!!!

Now it is time for some shouting . . . . . . .

KEEP RIGHT ON LOOKING AT THE BIGGER PICTURE, DAILY ECHO!!!

You know it males sense!!!
At last, Daily Echo, you are looking at the bigger picture of the remarkable, continuing progress of Saints!!! Now it is time for some shouting . . . . . . . KEEP RIGHT ON LOOKING AT THE BIGGER PICTURE, DAILY ECHO!!! You know it males sense!!! justaSaintsfan
  • Score: 0

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