Date: 10th June 2014 at 3:30pm
Written by:

As many will know, Southampton have produced some exquisite and gifted footballers in recent years. The Likes of…

As many will know, Southampton have produced some exquisite and gifted footballers in recent years. The Likes of Walcott, Bale, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shaw, Lallana, Chambers and James Ward-Prowse have all come from the academy and have continued to show what Saints can produce.

In the early part of the last 5 years, Southampton shipped off some of these talents due to financial situations and being in a lower league. Despite the annoyance from fans seeing a talented player leave, Southampton have continued to produce new academy heroes which have taken the English leagues by storm.

When the club chose to introduce a young academy player called Luke Shaw, many fans had no idea who he was and grumbled because of it. “Why are we bringing in this chap? We are in a decent league and can`t afford to have inexperience at the back” was one the main statements being echoed at the time.

Well, most fans ate humble pie and it soon became apparent why they had made the decision to introduce him. Now, being one of the most talked about young talents in the English game at the age of 18, he has been called up to represent his country at the World Cup and is the trending name among the transfer window.

Whatever decision is made on his future remains unknown, but it proves yet again that Southampton are still producing exceptional talent. So, with that in mind and the previous rising stars that have come through, who should Southampton use from the academy next season?

Let`s take a look.

Name: Jack Stephens
Position: Centre Back
Date of Birth: 27/01/1994

International recognition was given to him in March, when Jack was called into the England under-18 squad for the first time. He played the first half as the Young Lions ran out three-nil winners at Gresty Road in Crewe.

Name: Matt Targett
Position: Left Back
Date of Birth: 18/09/1995

Now, this chap was the man Southampton wanted to use instead of Luke Shaw but due to injury, he missed his chance. However with Shaw`s place in question he would be a perfect replacement.

A Saints fan who joined the Academy aged eight after being scouted from his local team, Matt is a full-back who likes to play in a relaxed style, but can also get forward to deliver crosses.

Despite his tender years, he was drafted into the Under-21 squad a few weeks into the 2012/13 Barclays Under-21 Premier League campaign and has held onto his spot ever since.

Targett was on the bench for the first team’s Capital One Cup game against Bristol City at St Mary’s, and won his first cap for England’s Under-19s in November 2013 having previously played for Scotland at under-19 level.

Name: Sam McQueen
Position: Winger
Date of Birth: 06/02/1995

McQueen is a cultured left winger who has progressed through the ranks at Saints since he was eight years old.

Sam hails from Southampton and signed a longer-term youth contract in November 2011. McQueen enjoyed a goal-laden pre-season for the Under-21 side at the start of the 2012/13 campaign but injuries have restricted his progress to-date.

He marked his long-awaited comeback with a call into the first team squad for the FA Cup game at Sunderland in February 2014 where he replaced Adam Lallana for the final quarter of an hour of the fifth-round tie.

Name: Omar Rowe
Position: Winger
Date of Birth: 30/10/1994

A compact and tidy winger who joined the Club at under-16 level, Omar has the pace and ability to take players on and excite fans.

Rowe previously played for West Ham and, although born in England, can also represent Jamaica through his family.

During the second half of the 2012/13 season, he has become a regular for the Under-21s and has impressed on the flanks. Rowe made such an impact at that level it has since prompted a call-up to the first team for a debut against Barnsley in the Capital One Cup, followed by another taste of senior action in the next round for the win over Bristol City.

Name: Jake Sinclair
Position: Striker
Date of Birth: 29/11/1994

A quick, prolific forward who was scouted by Saints` academy at the age of eight, Sinclair’s diminutive stature has not held him back as he has progressed quickly at the club.

Making inroads to the senior squad already, having made the bench a number of times in League Cup matches.

He has a sporting background with his brother Scott, now playing for Manchester City in the Premier League, whilst his other brother Martin has represented Team GB in the Paralympics.

Sinclair was a regular for the Under-21s during the 2012/13 campaign, scoring a number of goals having been a virtual ever-present. His goal haul ensured that he was handed the opportunity to represent the first team in a comfortable 5-1 away victory over Barnsley in the Capital One Cup.

Originally appeared on jamesreading86.wordpress.com.

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