It is widely regarded as one of the country’s top breeding grounds for young English talent – and it seems that the Southampton Academy has done it again.
A new name is emerging from the League One club’s prestigious academy, and hopes are high on the South Coast that Lloyd Foot will emulate the success of previous graduates who include Matt Le Tissier, Alan Shearer, Wayne Bridge, Gareth Bale and perhaps most famously in recent years, Theo Walcott.
Despite interest from Premier League giants Liverpool, Foot and his family decided that Southampton, their local professional club, was the best place for him to grow and develop his obvious talent. Having been spotted playing for home town club Alton Town in the Tyro League, Foot impressed the Saints’ coaching staff during a 12 week trial and was subsequently invited to join their academy, becoming a first year scholar at the start of the 2009/10 season.
On the eve of the start of a crucial season for Foot, his last as an academy scholar, dreams of playing first team football for a club he has supported since childhood are rapidly becoming increasingly realistic. Indeed, with his outstanding attributes and talent, all signs suggest that he will make it all the way.
Standing at a strapping 6ft 2in, the 17 year-old brings a dynamic and domineering presence to the centre of defence that has become such a sought after commodity in modern football.
His powerful physique may suggest that he is of the old-fashioned centre-back mould – strong in the air, ruthless in the tackle – and admittedly, these are key elements of his game. However, Foot prides himself on his ability to play with the ball on the floor, transforming defence into attack with midfield splitting runs.
He considers his style of play to resemble that of the swashbuckling Spaniard Sergio Ramos combined with the measured composure of Lucio. Southampton fans will also be excited to hear that Foot also considers himself to be similar to Jose Fonte, the silky-skilled Portuguese centre-back who enjoyed a fine first season at St Mary’s last term.
Off the pitch, Foot displays the maturity and confidence needed to make it in the professional game. He is driven to succeed by a strong support team, led by his father Neil, and has a burning ambition to make it to the top.
If his rise continues at the rate it is going, there will be no stopping him.
Written By Alex Smith