As part of its efforts to enhance the development of its B Team players, Southampton Football Club has brought experienced Academy graduate Olly Lancashire back into the set-up to help offer support and guidance to the youngsters within the programme.
The 32-year-old centre-back, who has made more than 300 senior appearances in his career, returns to the club where he made his breakthrough to work with the promising talents within the professional development phase, training on a daily basis with them while being able to act as a mentor during their own early years in the game.
Lancashire came through the youth ranks at Saints himself, making his debut in the 2008/09 season and playing 17 times for the first-team, before going on to spells with Grimsby, Walsall, Aldershot, Rochdale, Shrewsbury, Swindon and Crewe, meaning he brings with him a wealth of experience in the Football League as well as his knowledge and understanding of the club.
“I’m delighted to be back,” he said. “I’ll be here to train with the B team lads, to try and guide them, mentor them and prepare them for what is a very tough industry.
“Ultimately, we want as many of the players here to play for the first-team. Hopefully I can use my experience from playing professional football for 15 years.
“If I can teach them the character traits and the behaviours I was fortunate enough to learn here then it will stand them in good stead.”
Academy Director Matt Hale explained the thinking behind bringing Lancashire back in order to be integrated into the B Team set-up.
“It’s something that myself and Matt Crocker have had a good discussion about over the summer,” he said. “Olly is someone Matt knew from his time here before and, when it comes to the idea behind this, Olly ticks all of those boxes that we were after.
“He has a vast amount of experience playing league football, and that professionalism and characteristic that he’s got will be massive in terms of getting that across to our players.
“Olly will be a strong leader to take this group onto the next level and make sure we’re operating in the right way. He’s got a key role to play in that.”