Southampton’s academy has been prolific in its production of quality talent over its time, with some of the Premier League’s greatest having graced the south coast before going on to dominate English football.
Whilst the likes of Alan Shearer, Matt Le Tissier and Gareth Bale were never expected to reach the heights they did, another unassuming name coming through now will have hopes of following in their footsteps.
The Cameroon-born 20-year-old was regarded as one of the more highly rated youngsters in the Blues’ academy yet still made the decision to return “home”.
It is a testament to the pathway the Saints have in place for graduates to progress into the first team. James Ward-Prowse stands as glittering proof as their captain and midfield maestro.
This season has seen the defender sent out on loan to get his first taste of senior football, with a view that upon his return he could start to challenge the starting centre-backs.
Standing at 6 foot 2, his hulking frame instantly outlines him as someone with all the physical traits to succeed at the back.
Not only this, but former Carlisle United manager Keith Millen is confident in his technical abilities too.
He claimed: “When I saw him at Southampton he played on the left; he’s predominantly right-footed but is one of these centre-halves who’s comfortable on the left as well.”
Millen also gave his character a glowing recommendation, as he continued: “Since then I’ve met him twice, really like him as a lad. He’s very humble, wants to learn, just wants to get better”.
He could be seen as direct competition for Mohammed Salisu, who possesses a similarly massive frame but focuses more on the defensive side of things.
This year on loan will stand him in good stead to soon start challenging the 23-year-old for his place
He can go right to the very top if he maintains his steady incline and remains grounded.