The Southampton Way Gets A Slight Tweak
Tuesday, 8th Sep 2020 09:07
Saints are rethinking their philosophy in bringing younger players through with the introduction of their B team and it will see a lot less younger players go out on loan, instead staying at Staplewood to get their footballing education.
Saints have had a lot of players out on loan in the previous couple of seasons, many of them have been established names, but there have also been plenty of younger players shipped out for a season, but this is all set to change going forward.
Of course hopefully by the end of this coming season many of those big signings who we cannot sell because of their wages will be off the books, but it will not just be that, after restructuring their Academy set up, Saints are now in the mindset that the youngsters are better off staying at the club, rather than loan spells previously seen as good grounding playing in the lower leagues.
The restructure has seen the club's under-23s side renamed 'Southampton B' with training sessions and games now being moved to later in the day to allow Ralph Hasenhuttl the chance to be more involved with the programme and be able to see first hand the squad and who he might want to promote to his first team squad.
The club hope this will create an environment that will prove more beneficial to youngsters looking to move into the senior ranks.
This looks to be one of new Director Of Football Mat Crockers plans and he has spoken on the official website.
"In most cases, it is a much better education for them to be here,"
"If they are learning the first-team philosophy each day, the ways of working, being benchmarked against the first-team data set and being seen training and playing day-in and day-out by Ralph and his coaches.
“There may still be times where we feel a loan does add value for a certain player, but we will be much more restrictive on the ones we do agree and those decisions will be made from a first-team and academy perspective.
“Jake Vokins and Will Smallbone are great examples. They spent 12 months training with the first team and that enabled them to understand the physical and tactical demands required of them - and that allowed them to then transition really well when they were brought into the side.”
To give them the opportunity to play before spectators and in a stadium enviroment, rather than the training ground at Staplewood, Southampton B will play their home games at AFC Totton as well as playing a small number of stadium games at St. Mary's as is required by clubs who compete in Premier League 2.
Their first game of the season will see them take on Arsenal away from home on September 11 before returning to Hampshire to host Chelsea a week later.
Southampton B will also take part in this season's EFL Trophy with all their clashes played away against senior players from MK Dons, Northampton Town and Stevenage.
In my opinion this is a step forward as it ingrains the clubs philosophy and has the teams playing in the way that the manager wants them to from the first team down to the youth sides and gives the players a structure to work to.
But the truth is Premier League 2 games are a long way down from the professional leagues and there is also a grounding and hardness that can only be achieved in playing competitive matches and cannot be got in these youth team fixtures.
Matt Crocker has recognised that and it will still be an option.
All in all it shows that both the club and Ralph Hasenhuttl who has had a big hand in these plans are looking to build a foundation and structure in the club that has been missing for a while.
Photo: Action Images
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