Who Is The Latest Youngster On The Saints Bench ?
Monday, 24th Dec 2018 09:10
There was yet another surprise on the Saints bench at the weekend, Kayne Ramsay became the latest youngster to force his way into the first team squad, but who is he.
Kayne Ramsay became the latest unknown name to hit the first team squad following in the footsteps of Michael Obafemi, Yan Valery & Tyreke Johnson, all of whom have forced their way into the first team reckoning in recent weeks.
Ramsay was the youngest of the pack having only turned 18 in September and the it will not be too long now before a player plays in the first team who was not born when Saints left the Dell the 18th anniversary of which will happen at the end of this season.
Again like Johnson a week ago, few would know Ramsay's name when it appeared on the team sheet, indeed he still only appears on under the club's U18 roster on the website.
Ramsay has only been at the club a little over a year, he was previously in Chelsea's youth set up for the 2017/18 season and then signing a professional contract with Saints on turning 18 3 months ago.
Ramsay is a defender usually playing at right back, although sadly for him Ralph Hasenhuttl had to go with more experienced players off the bench to see out the game at Huddersfield so there was no chance of a little cameo at the end of the game as was the case last weekend for Tyreke Johnson.
Many Saints supporters will hail the appearance of these four players as a sign that the club's youth academy is far from dead, but this is not the full story.
With all four being aged between 18-20 you would have thought that they would have been at St Mary's for the last decade, but all have joined since 2016 and had previously been on the books of other club's.
Saints problem is that 10 years ago they were a club heading towards administration, in the summer of 2009 they were not only struggling to attract youngsters but actually sign them with at one stage it likely that the club might go bust.
This left a big void in the youth development programme, we of course still had the likes of James Ward Prowse and Luke Shaw on the books and they showed that the academy was in good shape prior to the Liebherr takeover, but we are now hitting that period where we were having to revamp our academy.
We will now start to see how good the academy was in the period 2009-2012.
But so far it appears that those coming through have been bought in rather than scouted at an early age, we have had to plug the gaps from 2009-10 by looking at the 15-16 year olds who have been at other clubs.
This is becoming more prevalent in football, the Black Box system extends beyond looking at those who have reached regular football as a professional and stretches down to the youth set ups across not just England but Europe and beyond, indeed Yan Valery was signed from Rennes in his native France.
Hopefully going forward we will once again start to show that we can sign players at an early age and develop them to the first team, in the meantime the emergence of thrse four players shows that we didn't sit back and accept the situation when we were unable to sign those kids we wanted a decade ago, but we looked at an alternative strategy.
It is easy to pick on Les Reed and undoubtedly he lost focus when it came to the first team managerial situation and ultimately he had to pay the price, but we should not forget the work he did in rebuilding the club after Markus Liebherr saved it.
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