Southampton might not be seen from the outside as club that fans would define as ‘futuristic’, yet Yan Valery would tell you differently.
The 20-year-old right-back recently sat down with PL Zone on French channel RMC Sport and opened up about his time coming through the Saints acclaimed academy after joining the Premier League club as a 15-year-old from Stade Rennais as per Southampton’s official website, and Valery did a great job on selling it.
As well as praising the club’s infrastructure and saying that arriving in Southampton for the first time was akin to going into the future, Valery’s comments on the Saints academy spoke volume as to how important the south coast side take youth development.
Valery said via Sport Witness: “There’s, like, 15 pitches at the training centre. Even the way of working is completely different. You arrive, they give you an iPad. You can watch your training. There’s everything to develop.
“After a game, you get an analysis of how you did. All the training, all the stats. You’ve got everything to work with and if you give everything, you’ve got no excuses. You can only progress.”
Indeed, it comes as an understatement to say that Southampton’s commitment to youth development remains one of the best in the Premier League, with the conveyor belt of talent coming from the Saints in recent years never skipping a beat.
As records from Transfermarkt show, 13 players who came through the Southampton academy currently ply their trade in Europe’s top-five leagues, with the likes of Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott amongst the fairly impressive list.
Valery’s insight into how the Southampton youth machine works is an interesting tale for any Saints supporter, and a good reminder that although Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have so far endured a poor season, the academy never stops pushing some of the country’s best youngsters to the promised land of first-team football, and that the south coast’s next superstar could be on their way sooner rather than later.