Southampton are currently in their 10th consecutive Premier League season after winning promotion from the Championship in 2012 under Nigel Adkins.
During that time, one figure who has played a massive part for the Saints is captain James Ward-Prowse, who has made 333 appearances for the south coast club across all competitions. He has scored 35 goals and provided 42 assists since making his senior debut for Southampton back in October 2011.
Despite making 11 appearances for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side so far this season and putting pen to paper on a new five-year contract at St Mary’s over the summer, a recent report from The Athletic has suggested that the midfielder has now gone past what they describe as peak age for a central midfielder.
With this in mind, there’s every possibility that the club could be on the lookout for a new player who could be a future long-term replacement for their skipper.
Rather than spend millions on potential transfer fees when that time comes, the Saints could already have their ideal replacement for Ward-Prowse and potential club hero with 16-year-old attacking midfielder Kami Doyle.
As a product of Southampton’s youth system, Doyle has made 12 appearances for their under-18 side, in which he has scored 10 goals and provided one assist, showing that he has a knack for scoring and creating goals from midfield in a similar way to Ward-Prowse over the years.
Even at his young age, Doyle – who has been praised in the past by Saints coach David Horseman for his “quality” on the pitch – has made 11 appearances for Southampton’s B team, which goes to show how much faith and belief they have in him to be able to line out alongside some of the older players in the youth ranks.
Moving forward, if Doyle can continue to progress with Southampton’s B team and develop his game even further, there’s nothing stopping him from eventually breaking into the first team and potentially becoming the club’s new Ward-Prowse.