The Saints media team are with the squad for their training camps in Spain and Austria, and they will be blogging throughout the trip to fill you in on all the behind-the-scenes goings on.
Yesterday saw the start of the First Team's overseas training camp, and it proved to be a big day for the Saints Academy.
Jordan Turnbull, Calum Chambers and Lloyd Isgrove – all of whom have been with the Club since a young age – were selected by First Team Manager Mauricio Pochettino to join his squad on yesterday's flight to Spain, where Saints have kicked off an 18-day stint overseas.
The trio – along with last season's captain of our Under-21 team, Jack Stephens – were the first to board a coach due to leave St Mary's at 9am yesterday. They were soon joined by first-teamers such as Morgan Schneiderlin and new signing Dejan Lovren, as well as Mauricio and his coaching staff.
Other members of the 23-player travelling party chose to head straight to Southampton Airport and, after a quick coffee and a browse of the newspapers, the squad were soon fastening their seat-belts bound for Girona.
Club Photographer Paul Watts was on hand to snap some great images on the plane but, with a number of players choosing to grab some shut-eye, his job was made that little bit harder!
After arriving in Spain, the squad collected the masses of kit taken on the flight and – notwithstanding a minor passport mishap involving an as-yet unnamed member of the team – Saints were soon on their way to their base 45 minutes from the airport.
The players quickly settled into their rooms, but there was to be some immediate good news for one of the young quartet mentioned earlier as Lloyd Isgrove put pen-to-paper on a new one-year contract.
I had the chance to interview Lloyd yesterday afternoon, and I could sense there is a real determination in him to ensure that he makes the most of this opportunity to impress Mauricio and his staff ahead of the new season.
The squad then settled down for a much-needed siesta, while the coaches headed up to the training pitch to check out the excellent facilities the squad has at its disposal here.
After a spot of food and a team meeting, it was time to get to work! Just after 5pm the squad headed into the gym before making the short walk to start their first training session in Spain.
The cameras were out for the entire session as Mauricio put the players through their paces in a session that combined ball work with a some testing runs across the golf course next to the team hotel.
There was more positive news to come after the session as it was confirmed that Luke Shaw – who was celebrating his 18th birthday – had finalised the new five-year contract that he had verbally agreed to sign back in January.
As well as the usual handshake-and-shirt shots, we were lucky enough to get some great images of Luke being surprised with a birthday cake and then giving a speech to the rest of the travelling party after dinner. You can see Paul's full first-day gallery here.
When I sat down to interview Luke, my mind immediately cast back to this time a year ago. He had only just turned 17 when he travelled to Évian-les-Bains for the First Team's training camp ahead of last season. At that point he was very much a teenage boy.
The growth and change in his character since then is incredible. He speaks with confidence and maturity, and is popular with the entire squad – at times yesterday he was even giving advice to the likes of Turnbull and Isgrove about how to handle a pre-season training camp, which in itself is a sign of his development.
He has come back for pre-season training in tremendous shape – something he publicly stated his intention to do back in May – and hopefully this new contract will dampen down the almost-constant speculation over his future.
To see a group of Academy graduates travel away for an exciting pre-season trip such as this and for two of them to pledge their long-term future to Club means this was day to be proud of for everyone involved in their development at Southampton.
After 10pm the squad gradually headed off for their first night's sleep, with a busy schedule planned for their second day in Spain.
With contracts for Isgrove and Shaw both announced, interviews for both uploaded to Saints Player and behind-the-scenes footage of Luke's birthday speech put on YouTube, it was also time for the media team to grab some rest.
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Day two in Spain is already getting underway, with the players heading out for their first session of the day. Check back soon to find out how it went!