With the news from Southampton that Academy graduate Michael Obafemi had signed a new long term extension to his contract at the club this week, manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has indicated that other young lads in our youth setup should be boosted by the strikers’ development through to the first team this year – and potentially more so, that other youngsters in the game should see St Mary’s as their port of call for future development.
With Southampton’s Academy regularly producing players of note, and homegrown players being key in many respects to our rise back through the English pyramid in recent times – with the departure of former manager Mauricio Pochettino, that pathway did stall, but clearly under the Austrian he wants it to be re-opened.
Speaking to saintsfc after the 18-year-old signed on the dotted line, Hasenhuttl explained.
“Young players like Michael represent a big part of the future of Southampton, so this is an important day for him and also for the club. This is a big day for Michael, but I think what is most important now is that he realises this is the start for him, and that he must use this as a base to make the next steps in his development. There is still a great amount of potential for Michael to fulfil and a lot for him to achieve, and this is the best place for him to do it, so he must focus on working as hard and professionally as possible to make sure he becomes the player I believe he can be.”
With Hasenhuttl already making plenty of use of youngsters at the club during his short spell in charge so far, if youngsters deserve their shot, clearly they will get it.