O'Neill hails Saints academy

Basingstoke Gazette: Michael O'Neill Michael O'Neill

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill is hoping to benefit from Southampton's famed production line after calling up former Saints midfielder Ben Reeves.

The likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, Adam Lallana and Luke Shaw have helped the south-coast club develop a reputation as one of the English game's finest talent schools, and Reeves started his career at St Mary's.

The 22-year-old left for MK Dons in the summer after a handful of first-team appearances, but has quickly settled with 10 goals in 31 matches this season.

That form has earned him a place in the Northern Ireland squad that faces Cyprus in a friendly on March 5, and O'Neill is pleased to have him on board.

"Ben is a player I've known was eligible, through his grandmother, for about 12 months or so, since he was at Southampton," he told Press Association Sport.

"He struggled to make the breakthrough there into the big time, but they are such a good grounding for youngsters and their academy is recognised for the quality players it is producing.

"Ben is rebuilding at MK Dons now, playing well and scoring goals from midfield.

"I've been monitoring him closely for three or four months and he's had some really good games in that time. I went to meet him personally and he's decided to throw his hat in with Northern Ireland, which is good news."

Comments (6)

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12:58pm Wed 26 Feb 14

CB FRY LIVES says...

Congratulations Ben.
I thought Saints should have given him a new contract last summer and put him out on loan to either a championship or division one club for a while..He has much more potential than players like Guly who in my mind has been treading water for a couple of seasons now.Reeves is capable of scoring goals too.Cork,Wanyama, and Morgan S please take note and start finding the back of thev opponents net.It would be fantastic if one of those last three mentioned players got the winner for Saints on saturday against the Scousers.
COYR
Congratulations Ben. I thought Saints should have given him a new contract last summer and put him out on loan to either a championship or division one club for a while..He has much more potential than players like Guly who in my mind has been treading water for a couple of seasons now.Reeves is capable of scoring goals too.Cork,Wanyama, and Morgan S please take note and start finding the back of thev opponents net.It would be fantastic if one of those last three mentioned players got the winner for Saints on saturday against the Scousers. COYR CB FRY LIVES

1:22pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Dubai-saints89 says...

he could be our version of Paul Pogba, the player united let go of who is doing wonders with another club... :/ but its nice to hear praise from other football managers about our club/ex players
Good luck ben.
he could be our version of Paul Pogba, the player united let go of who is doing wonders with another club... :/ but its nice to hear praise from other football managers about our club/ex players Good luck ben. Dubai-saints89

2:00pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Costa Baz says...

Excellent news.
First saw him playing at left back, for the academy, in a pre-season game in Winchester, and he was the stand out player.
Especially when going forward.
Great to see we've produced another international player.
Excellent news. First saw him playing at left back, for the academy, in a pre-season game in Winchester, and he was the stand out player. Especially when going forward. Great to see we've produced another international player. Costa Baz

4:12pm Wed 26 Feb 14

justaSaintsfan says...

It should be a real 'no brainer' for international managers to look in Saints direction for potential recruits to their squads.

Why not?

The future is bright!

The future is the Southampton way!!!

Roll up! Roll up! Come and get your international players here!!!

COYR!!!
It should be a real 'no brainer' for international managers to look in Saints direction for potential recruits to their squads. Why not? The future is bright! The future is the Southampton way!!! Roll up! Roll up! Come and get your international players here!!! COYR!!! justaSaintsfan

5:13pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Redrobbo says...

I always thought he had potential, He was always ta neat and tidy player and would have made an excellent deputy to Luke Shaw and give some cover in midfield. Even in League One a goal every 3rd game from midfield is an excellent achievement.
I always thought he had potential, He was always ta neat and tidy player and would have made an excellent deputy to Luke Shaw and give some cover in midfield. Even in League One a goal every 3rd game from midfield is an excellent achievement. Redrobbo

5:24pm Wed 26 Feb 14

Fatty x Ford Worker says...

Cost a lot of dosh to prise the young talent away!
Cost a lot of dosh to prise the young talent away! Fatty x Ford Worker

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