This article is part of Football FanCast’s In The Pipeline series, which takes a look at some of the most promising young talent either linked with clubs or emerging from their academies…
After two recent developments at Southampton regarding the goalkeeping department, Harry Lewis should be sensing an opportunity to progress at St Mary’s.
The 21-year-old stopper has made three appearances for the first-team at Southampton previously, so his impressive progress through the youth ranks has already been rewarded.
He’s also gained valuable first-team minutes in the past, spending the entirety of the 2017/18 campaign on loan with Dundee United and making 38 appearances as the Scottish side finished third in the Scottish Championship.
But some recent developments should have piqued Lewis’ interest in regards to moving up the pecking order.
Fraser Forster, who was third-choice stopper behind Angus Gunn and Alex McCarthy, recently departed the club to rejoin his former side Celtic, so he’s out of the equation in terms of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s goalkeeping options.
But speaking of Gunn, the former Manchester City and Norwich man has been in mixed form in the Premier League so far this term, conceding three goals against Burnley at the start of the season and three goals against south-coast rivals Bournemouth last time out.
It was against the Cherries in which Gunn contributed to one of the two developments that may now have Lewis smelling blood in terms of a first-team opportunity.
The Saints No.1 came rushing out of his goal, getting himself in a mix-up with Jan Bednarek, allowing Callum Wilson to steal in and score what was perhaps the easiest goal of his life.
Of course, there is also the presence of current No.2 Alex McCarthy at St Mary’s, but he doesn’t seem to be too deep into Hasenhuttl’s first-team plans given Sky Sports’ story stating that the England international was up for sale back in the summer.
In addition to that, McCarthy is yet to make an appearance in the Premier League so far this term and has been restricted to just two appearances in the Carabao Cup – for now, he appears to be Hasenhuttl’s No.2, but the fact he could’ve been moved on should give Lewis encouragement for finding a pathway to becoming his replacement.
Forster’s exit, coupled with Gunn’s recent mistake and McCarthy’s transfer situation, may not see Lewis instantly handed the responsibility of being the club’s No.1. But he should be sensing a huge opportunity at St Mary’s; it is down to him to grab it.