Loaning out Southampton youth graduates another blot on Les Reed’s copybook

Jake Hesketh scored his second brilliant goal in a week on Tuesday night, and given his form and that of Southampton in the Premier League, Les Reed looks to have made another catastrophic mistake.

What’s the word, then?

Well, despite a disastrous 2017/18 campaign that ended with the south coast outfit narrowly avoiding relegation, the club clearly decided over the summer that blooding their youngsters during the current campaign wasn’t the answer to their issues.

The likes of Harrison Reed and Hesketh were sent out on loan to Championship and League One outfits respectively, while new players such as Stuart Armstrong and Mohamed Elyounoussi arrived at St Mary’s.

However, those two additions have struggled to make a positive impact while Reed and Hesketh have been shining, scoring three brilliant goals between them in the previous 10 days.

Why has it been such a big mistake?

When they were first promoted to the Premier League, Saints placed their faith in academy graduates such as James Ward-Prowse, Luke Shaw and Calum Chambers, but it has been a different story in recent years with their youngsters not getting as much of an opportunity – understandable when they were in the upper echelons of the table and in the Europa League.

However, it is clear that things have gone stale with a number of their first-team stars in recent seasons, and the summer was an opportunity to get some young and hungry talent into the starting XI to try and turn things around.

Instead, Hesketh and Reed are starring out on loan and Matt Targett has barely kicked a ball in the top flight, with Southampton looking likely to be involved in another relegation battle this term.