Saints' First Team Manager Mauricio Pochettino has revealed he is a major advocate of promoting promising youngsters at clubs and insists that he will continue to do so at Southampton.
The gaffer, who has placed his faith in the likes of Luke Shaw, James Ward-Prowse and Calum Chambers by giving them first-team opportunities in the 2013/14 campaign, feels that continuing to develop academy products into quality players is paramount to the Club’s future.
Calling on his experience as a youngster in Argentina and beyond, Pocchetino told reporters: “I’m a person that has always given a lot of value to the youth teams in clubs. I was actually a player that came out of the youth ranks in one of the best youth academies in Argentina, at Newell’s Old Boys.
“When I was manager of Espanyol I was a manager that always liked to reinforce and push through that academy culture of pushing through the younger players. I really value the younger players in any club.
“One of the main reasons I signed for Southampton was the fact that I understood perfectly what it meant to sign for Southampton in the sense that they wanted to push through that academy system.
“They wanted to reinforce it and that boded very well with how I view the future of a football club, so I’m very happy that both ways of doing things have come together at Southampton so well.”
One blossoming young player that could be handed the chance to shine in the First Team this weekend against Fulham at St Mary’s is Ward-Prowse, following uncertainty over the fitness of fellow midfielder Steven Davis.
The 18-year-old, who has made three starts and five substitute appearances in the league this season, can expect to help employ the high line that Pochettino craves so the manager’s desired attacking tactics can be executed.
“Steven Davis had a slight problem,” the manager confirmed. “We still need to evaluate how he’s going to be feeling tomorrow. He’ll be looked at and we’ll make a decision tomorrow as to whether he can play on Saturday.
“We have a certain philosophy of football where we try to defend very high up the pitch, taking a lot of risks. To have the ball as far as possible from our goal is how we feel positive about how we play – that’s when we feel safest.
“The higher up the pitch the lines my players play, the better we are in terms of how we want to execute our football philosophy. That entails taking risks in how we play, but we’re working on how to manage those risks, to reduce them as much as possible. I think it’s all down to the great performance of the players that are executing that philosophy of how we want to play very well.”