Tony Pulis has hailed the work conducted in Saints’ academy, as he prepares to put his Crystal Palace side up against Mauricio Pochettino’s young guns.
With four players from the club having been provided to the senior England team this week, as well as many more at youth level, there has been a lot of praise sent in the direction of St Mary’s.
None has been more glowing than that from Pulis, who believes Saints’ set-up represents the gold standard in this country.
“They’ve done it consistently for a long time. They haven’t just stumbled over it,” he said.
“There’s people who have been there for years and years, and they have got a very, very good scouting set-up, but also the people that work there, before you even get to becoming professionals, are really good lads.
“They don’t worry just about the technical side of it, they actually worry about the players’ attitude and responsibility. Most of the lads who come out of that club, if you have a look at them, are good lads as well, they’re not just good players.
“They’ve got the jigsaw sorted out, and the pieces are in the right place.”
With the Pulis family home being situated in Bournemouth, the current Palace manager has paid a lot of attention to the goings on just up the road, in Southampton.
“Lallana actually went to school with my daughter, so we always look at what Adam’s doing,” he said.
“He comes from a lovely family, he’s a very level-headed lad, and it’s lovely to see him doing so well.
“Shaw, Chambers, I don’t know what they put in the water down there, but they certainly produce some very good players.
“They’ve always had experienced people behind the scenes. Experienced people in respect of the way they bring up the young players.
“Young players with talent need guidance, they need role models and people who are going to put them in their place.”
It is not just the quality of Saints’ academy products that has caught the eye of Pulis, though.
The 56-year-old has also been quite taken with how the first-team have played under the guidance of Pochettino.
“I’ve seen them quite a few times,” he said. “I think the manager’s done a fantastic job.
“They’ve got an identity to their team, they play a certain way – it’s a little bit different to most teams in the Premier League.
“The rotation of the front three and the way they use their full-backs is excellent.
“As a coach and a manager, you enjoy watching certain teams, because you can actually see what they’re trying to achieve, and they make it very difficult for the opposition.”
Pulis’ side have lost just one of their last five home matches – and that was to Manchester United – and he believes his team can give Saints a difficult game at Selhurst Park tomorrow.
“We are at our place and we want to be positive and do what I think we’re good at, and hopefully that will be enough to give Southampton a good game, because they are a good team,” he said.
However, Palace’s chances of pulling off a first ever Premier League win against Saints – they have not won any of the nine previous encounters since 1992/93 – could be hit by the potential absence of top scorer Marouane Chamakh.
Pulis said: “Chamakh’s struggling with his hamstring. “He’s a last-minute one. He will be a big miss if he’s not fit.”