Matt Le Tissier, Alan Shearer, Wayne Bridge, Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott… Lloyd Foot?
There are few British teams who can boast about having produced as many young talented players as Southampton FC with the South-Coast team’s youth system having turned-out some of the most highly-regarded players in the Premiership from Shearer to Walcott. And now the Saints Academy is looking to its next big talent – eighteen-year-old Lloyd Foot.
Standing at 6ft 2in, Foot has the stature of a commanding centre back, strong and domineering – arguably key traits in making it in today’s game. Influenced as a child by the likes of David Beckham and Steven Gerrard, Foot also possesses the leadership qualities to boot. However he sees his best attributes as his ‘style of playing out from the back and composure’, and he aspires to play like the Real Madrid and Spain defender Sergio Ramos. I’m sure both Southampton and England would hope such comparisons materialise further.
He is hoping to follow the rapid ascendance of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who has this season progressed from the Academy into the first team at The Saints, and is currently a regular in the gossip columns with the papers focusing on his rumoured big money transfer to a Premiership side.
Foot though, and excuse the pun, has his feet firmly on the ground: “It’s hard to say when I’ll break into the first team, as you need experience as a centre back. Hopefully in the next few years but it’s up to the gaffer.” At the moment he is enjoying the thirteen-match unbeaten run the Southampton Academy side are on.
He puts the success of the club’s youth academy down to its structure. “The structure is brilliant. A lot of money is ploughed into it every year and all the coaching staff are really good.”
Whether or not Foot plays a direct role in the first team campaign this year, he is confident of the club’s chances: “I definitely think we’ll go up this year, and then next, if we could get a couple of good signings, we’ll hopefully do well in the Championship.”
It is at this level of football or higher where Foot envisages himself plying his trade in five years time. With such talent, commitment, and at a club that has such a good track record, it looks as if Foot could go all the way.