Southampton’s academy manager Matt Hale is looking forward to working closely with the club’s new first team management to keep the production of first team players going.
On the same day that Claude Puel was announced as Saints’ new first team manager, 13 young players began two-year scholarships with the club, with first team football at Saints a firm ambition for many of them .
It’s the largest intake of players at that level for five years and Hale believes they, like those in the years above them, will have every chance to make it as first team players at Southampton during Puel’s time at the club.
“Certainly having met the new management team they will look very much to the academy and for us to produce those players good enough to play in that first team,” Hale told youtube.com/southamptonfc.
“There’s certainly a lot to look forward to and we’ll enjoy working very closely with the senior management team here as well to carry on that type of success we’ve had.
“We tend to carry fairly small squads from under-21s down and a lot of the time, the under-18s will train with the 21s so we’ve got more bodies this year and young players that will be in our scholarship age group.
“They’ve got an opportunity, if they do well, in the early part of this season to join with the under-21s and really kick on with their career right from the start, so we’re looking forward to that.”
While the signing of the latest batch of young players represents the end of one process, the start of a new season brings new challenges as a progressive build up to the new campaign gets under way.
“We’re looking forward to it,” says Hale. “The staff here have had a few weeks off to get back here this week planning, preparing ahead of the pre-season scheduling as well as the programme from August which is going to be busy and one which the boys will look forward to when they get their schedules and we look forward to working with them too.
“From Monday they will see the footballs start to roll along with I’m sure some extra physical work, so it will be a couple of weeks here and then an exciting couple of weeks away from the training centre on tour in Italy and then we come back for a good pre-season fixture arranged against Rosenberg. After the 5th August weekend the season starts and we await those fixtures to be off and running again.”