Saints youth policy important for Pochettino

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino believes the club's policy of promoting players from the youth system is just as vital as the heavy investment in the squad.

A battle between the two midfield destroyers.

The Argentinian has added Dejan Lovren, Victor Wanyama and Dani Osvaldo to his squad in recent months, running up a total transfer outlay of around £36million.

But despite breaking the club's transfer record on two occasions this summer, after last year also splashing out on Gaston Ramirez and Jay Rodriguez, Saints fielded four products of their youth academy in Saturday's 1-0 win at West Brom.

Calum Chambers, Luke Shaw, James Ward-Prowse and Adam Lallana all started, as did Morgan Schneiderlin, who joined the south coast club as an 18-year-old.

Pochettino is keen to keep blooding such youngsters from the same academy that has produced the likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in recent times.

"I'm very happy with all the players who have come through the academy, we are very pleased about what we are doing in that sense," he said ahead of Saturday's game at home to Sunderland.

"It speaks volumes of the good job that [chairman] Nicola Cortese has been doing in terms of promoting the academy going up.

"I think you need a good mix between youth players and older, more experienced players. If you do have that equilibrium then it is going to bring a good energy to the club.

"It is tough because we have 22 to 23 players who are looking at getting in to the side."

However, while he is happy to utilise his fledglings, Pochettino is also aware that he has to nurture their talents in the coming years.

"We have to be careful with young players," he added.

"We need to be patient with them and gauge how much they can give and what their potential can be for the club.

"But it is also true that the academy has not started recently, there has been a solid project there for four or five years and we just want to carry on that tradition."

Midfielder Ward-Prowse, 18, was the most impressive of Saints' young players on show at the Hawthorns last weekend.

Playing in a more advanced role than last season, he impressed Pochettino who was delighted that he showed how versatile a player he has become.

"He played a very good match at West Bromwich," he said.

"He has the technique and the qualities and abilities to play anywhere in attack aside from the lone striker position, but in any of the three other positions before that he's able to slot in very well.

"We're very happy and pleased with him and we hope that he continues on the projection that he is going on."

It is likely all of Pochettino's proteges will remain in the side for the clash at home to Sunderland on Saturday, with Osvaldo in line to make his Saints debut in what his manager feels could be a tough test.

"It will be a difficult game, I have no doubt," Pochettino added. "I have a good relationship with Paolo [Di Canio] and there won't be any problems between us.

"We know and are very aware that it will be tough, they lost their first game of the season and will be working hard to bounce back."



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