Four Southampton players have renewed their contracts ahead of the 2022/23 season, with Olly Lancashire, Sam Bailey, Sam Bellis and Kegs Chauke all putting pen to paper to extend their stay on the south coast.
Promising young starlet Kegs Chauke has extended his stay until 2024, after making 20 Premier League 2 appearances for Dave Horseman's side last season.
Joining from Thatcham Town in 2017, the midfielder signed his first professional contract in 2020 before making his first professional appearance against Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup in January 2021.
“I’m delighted to be here,” confirmed the 19-year-old. “I know the club well now, I’ve been here for a couple of years. I just want to keep taking every opportunity I can get.
“It’s my first academy I’ve been to so it's great to be able to experience what I’ve experienced so far.
“I think the culture here is great. The staff and the players, everyone is trying to come together to better themselves. Obviously, the support here is great and the facilities as well.
“For me, I think this is the best place to be going forward and I know I’ll get opportunities."
Meanwhile, experienced academy graduate Olly Lancashire remains as a leading figure within the team with a one-year extension.
After his debut for Saints back in 2008/09, Lancashire went on to make 17 appearances in the Championship before a long spell away from SO14, returning to the club back in the summer of 2021 to offer support and guidance to Saints’ youngsters.
On renewing his contract, Lancashire admitted: "I arrived this time last year and I felt like I added some value to the young boys and thankfully the club feel the same and I’m looking forward to helping as many people as I can.
A prominent figure both on and off the pitch in the 2021/22 season, the 33-year-old will continue to play a leading role as Saints’ future stars look to develop their talent, particularly after the Under-18s were crowned Under-18 Premier League South Division champions.
“I was fortunate enough to do it as well when I was 16," confessed the defender. "It’s great to have the same sort of memories as some of these young boys. Now it’s a new season and hopefuly they can take the confidence they had and take it into this season and the next couple of years and hopefully forge a career."
Another defender has committed his future to the club in the form of Sam Bailey, who despite having a season plagued by injury, continues to impress at Staplewood.
At the club since he was just eight years old, Bailey signed a two-year scholarship with Saints back in 2019. The youngster was quick to impress at Under-18 level, making his B team debut in February 2020.
sam baileyi've been here since i was eight, so it's a proud moment for me, it's one that i've always dreamed of.
on southampton dream
Currently recovering from an ACL injury, Bailey's primary focus is a return to full fitness: "My main focus at the moment is to continue to work hard, get back and then just maintain fitness really. Hopefully, get a good run in the team second half of the season and help the team reach our goals this season.
“For me the staff, coaches, players are second to none," he continued. "I’ve been here for so long, I’ve been through, seen the place grow, seen myself grow as a player and as a person and just everyday you’ve got the best facilities and people around you to improve.
“As much as you can perform yourself you need your teammates on and off the pitch to drive you, staff as well."
Promising 19-year-old forward Sam Bellis also signs a one-year contract extension, as he looks to make a successful return from injury in 2022/23.
Completing a move from Manchester City in 2019, Bellis also joined on a scholarship but was soon offered his first professional contract in 2020.
The forward scored a sublime brace against Bristol Rovers in December 2019, showing his talent early on when featuring for Saints’ Under-18s.
Having made 22 appearances in the Under-18 Premier League and scoring 10 goals, the 19-year-old went on to make eleven appearances in Premier League 2 for the B team in 2020/21, before an injury plagued 2021/22.
"I’m really excited," admitted Bellis upon signing his new contract. "Obviously, I’ve had a tough season so I’m just happy to be able to get the chance to show what I can do again.
“It’s a great privilege, all the staff are good. I think I’ve adjusted well, being away from home. It’s been a challenge but I’ve enjoyed it, obviously it’s a bit easier when you’re playing football – you make mates quite easily."
“It’s been a while but I just want to say thanks to the physios and stuff who have helped me through the tough period and I’m glad that I can be playing football again and get back to enjoying it."
Each of the group have already reported back to pre-season training, ahead of the 2022/23 season.