It seems almost synonymous to immediately think ‘youth academy’ when somebody brings up Southampton FC, and there is a good reason for that.
Whilst the Saints’ trophy cabinet remains largely bare, the south coast side can boast to have one of the top youth systems in the Premier League, with the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Luke Shaw, Gareth Bale and many more coming through the acclaimed Southampton Academy.
Indeed, a quick look at the club’s former academy players on Transfermarkt shows a large and impressive list of names to come through the famed youth system, yet one figure stands out, for he is not only in the national spotlight after receiving his first England call-up last week but is also someone few might not be aware of even coming through Southampton’s academy, Tyrone Mings.
The current Aston Villa defender, who Gareth Southgate surprisingly named for the upcoming EURO 2020 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo with the latter match being played at St. Mary’s, was indeed at Southampton during the early years of his footballing career, joining the club as an eight-year-old before being released eight years later in 2009 due to a youth budget reduction as This is Wiltshire report.
Of course, Mings’ career so far has been nothing but extraordinary with the now 26-year-old making a name for himself at Ipswich Town as a promising left-back before making the leap to the Premier League to join Bournemouth in 2015, however, the defender tore his anterior and medial ligaments in his knee just six minutes into his Cherries debut, ruling him out for a year and more or less dooming his career ay Eddie Howe’s side.
Now an established centre-back with Villa, Mings road back to the top has been completed after such a long journey, yet his story serves as a reminder to Southampton that despite being one of the top academies in England and arguably in Europe as a whole, the Saints can still get it wrong when it comes to evaluating promising talent no matter how immaculate their reputation is.