Hardyman: The challenge is there

By SFC Media time Fri 31 Jan Chelsea v Saints
Photo by Tom Mulholland | Paul Hardyman

Under-18s coach Paul Hardyman has said his side are looking forward to the challenge, as they travel to second-placed Chelsea in the U18 Premier League on Saturday (11am GMT).

The test against the side joint top of the division comes just over a week following Saints’ 5-0 league victory over Swansea City at Staplewood.

Goals from Seamus Keogh, Ramello Mitchell and a hat-trick from Jack Turner secured a dominating result for Hardyman’s side, who still saw areas to improve despite the score line.

“It was pleasing the result,” said Hardyman. “But we’re still about performances. There were some really good bits, and there’s some bits we want to keep improving on.”

“That’s not me being harsh on the lads, if we’re going to be producing Premier League footballers we’ve got to be making sure we’re regularly doing some really good things.

“The result against Swansea showed that when the boys click, how good they can be.”

Saturday’s hosts Chelsea currently sit level with league leaders Fulham in the Southern U18 Premier League but have lost their last three in the competition.

Hardyman said the challenge for his side is one they should be looking forward to.

“I always say every game these boys are lucky. They’re playing in an environment where they’re looking and their counterparts are the top professionals at Premier League clubs.

“The challenge is there for them to step up to it and meet it. Let’s see how we go again.”

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 22: Kgaogelo Chauke signing his professional contract at Southampton FC at Staplewood Training Ground on January 22, 2020 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Isabelle Field Southampton FC/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Kgaogelo Chauke with Paul Hardyman (Photo: Isabelle Field)

During the week Under-18s regular Kgaogelo Chauke signed his professional contract, something Hardyman believes is testament to the work the midfielder has put in this season.

“That’s what we’re about, when we see the boys doing stuff then we’ve got to make a move.

“Kegs is a smashing lad on and off the pitch, he’s a lad that works really hard so it was a no brainer in lots of ways.

“It’s always nice when you get one through, but it’s even better when you see them running about on a first team pitch.”


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