After scoring 46 goals in 100 appearances for Southampton across all competitions, striker Danny Ings left St. Mary’s during the previous summer transfer window for a move to fellow Premier League club Aston Villa. Since then, he has netted three goals in their opening eight league games of the season.
As a result of his departure, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have only managed to score six goals in the same number of matches, leaving them in 15th place in the league table with just seven points on the board.
Despite their struggles in front of goal so far this season without Ings in their squad, it seems that Southampton could well have the next version of the clinical attacker in their youth squad with young attacker Dominic Ballard.
Ballard has also made five appearances for Southampton’s B team, managing one goal for his efforts.
The teenager started playing in the U18 side this term where he found the net on three occasions in their four opening league games of the season before being included in the B team where he’s scored once in three outings, taking his total goal tally this season to four, showing that he has the ability to show off his goalscoring prowess at both youth levels.
Even though Ballard has not yet made his senior debut for the Saints despite clearly being a big talent, we feel that he could well go on to be a regular first-team player for Southampton in the future if he continues beating the goalkeeper on a regular basis and developing his game beyond that.
If he does, then the youngster could well go on to save Southampton millions in potentially having to sign a new striker as a long-term replacement for Ings. By doing so, he’d be next in an eye-catching list of current senior Southampton players who have worked their way through the youth academy including James Ward-Prowse, Jack Stephens, Theo Walcott and Nathan Tella among others.