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Will Olufela Olomola Be The Next Saints Youngster To Break Through
Wednesday, 5th Oct 2016 08:40

With many Saints fans believing that Saints should have bought a striker in the transfer window, did the club refrain from paying out big money in the knowledge that had what they needed already at Staplewood.

There are many Saints supporters who have taken to social media and fans message boards to moan about the fact that Saints failed to sign a striker in the transfer window.

There are those that feel that the club has in fact got plenty of goalscorers at the club already and will point to Charlie Austin, Jay Rodriguez and Shane Long as three strikers who have had Premier League scoring seasons totalling around 43 goals.

But it could be that the club did not go out an buy in a striker at big money knowing that coming through the ranks was a player with the potential to be the next big star from the famed Southampton Academy.

That player is Olufela Olomola and last night in the academy sides 2-1 at Colchester United in the Checkatrade Trophy he perhaps gave many the first glimpse of why he could be about to burst on the scene.

He has been on the verge of a first team call up in the past month or so, indeed last season he made the bench against Sunderland back in March, but surprisingly he did not even make the bench for the EFL Cup game against Crystal Palace but at Happoel Be'er Sheva and again at Leicester City in the last week he has been selected on the bench.

He did not get on to the field in either of those games, but there was a feeling inside the club that this was the first step towards blooding him into the first team squad.

He did though play in the Academy teams two Checkatrade Trophy games so far, firstly at Charlton Athletic and then last night at Colchester United where he gave the first glimpse of his potential at a level up from the Academy League by scoring the winner.

Olomola who goes by the name of Fela to his friends scored a 51st minute goal is fast and he is strong and has an eye for goal, in short he seems to be a good contrast to the three aforementioned strikers, in some respects he is every much the type of player that at the moment Claude Puel is trying to turn Nathan Redmond into.

There are some who say that Redmond, as good as he is as a wideman, will perhaps never become an out and out striker, but it could be that using the former Norwich man as a striker is more of a stop gap than a long term option, of course Clause Puel could not say that, but as he begins to see what he has to hand at St Mary's, it might be the case.

Of course Olomola still has a long way to go to show that he is worth the hype that is rising from a whisper at a fast rate.

Originally Olomola was at Arsenal, but sensing that there was a glut of strikers at youth team level at the Emirates, indeed he had been played at full back at times, he opted to turn down the offer of a contract and instead chose to join Saints back in July 2014.

Now having only turned 19 at the beginning of September he could be about to burst on the scene and his debut for the first team could be only a matter of weeks away.

Saints academy boss Martin Hunter certainly rates the player and his job now is to try and keep his feet on the ground and keep progressing him forward towards that first team spot.

He said:

“He’s doing very well, but he needs to keep his feet on the floor and understand that there’s a long way to go in terms of getting into the first team.

“But performances like tonight will help him do that.”

Photo: Action Images

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bstokesaint added 12:28 - Oct 5
Let's hope he does turn out to be another option upfront. You can tally the goals Long, Austin, Redmond and Jay Rod have scored historically until the cows come home, but I still think in that position we were stronger last season. There are too many potential concerns over injuries and how players will adapt to new positions. A young player with fitness, an eye for goals and eagerness to make an impression can't be a bad thing.

BaselSaint added 15:04 - Oct 5
He`s our greatest secret weapon - looks great at acadamy level. It will be good to see Olufela in the 1st Team squad. Well deserved.

saintsnutcase added 15:30 - Oct 5
It would be GREAT to steal a young player from Arsenal and make him a Premiership star, after all the kids who have gone in the opposite direction.

ChristchurchSaint added 16:03 - Oct 5
It is certainly nice to have an enthusiastic young player on the bench, who will provide an extra option if we are lacking goals.

davepid added 17:03 - Oct 5
Well we will soon find out. With the exception of JWP all those who made it did it very quickly.

Bettwsresident added 17:22 - Oct 5
that was when we were a championship side. Getting a place in a top 10 prem outfit if a bit more difficult. I am sure Hesketh and Reed would be established players now if there emergence had co-incided with when saints were in league 1/championship.

Oxo, Walcott, Bale, Lallana, Shaw all came through in this period.

dirk_doone added 22:10 - Oct 5
He's an exciting prospect and so is Josh Sims, who I think will be the next big star from Saints Academy.

GeordieSaint added 14:53 - Oct 6
Anyone know about Ryan Seager? I heard he was pretty good and was keeping an eye on his loan a Crewe. Is he still out injured?

TeamCortese added 15:58 - Oct 7
I wouldn't read too much into this one. If he's good then Claude Puel would have given him 10 minutes off the bench. Especially with Jay Rod and Boufal injured.

SaintBrock added 10:19 - Oct 10
He looks promising but it is far too soon to tell if he will make the grade or not. I watch as many U23 matches as possible and for me he is not the stand-out player in that squad. It will be good for his attitude and development ah Puel has put him on the first team bench for a couple of matches but it is likely that is just for exposure and window dressing and the odd headline that says "Saints fielded three Academy players for today's match and had a further three on the bench, so how's that for believing in there philosophy?" which was actually said by one commentator during the match.

Will he get on the pitch? Unlikely any time soon unless we find ourselves 4-0 up with 20 minutes to go and he happens to be around.

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