Development Squad player Jake Flannigan is relishing every potential opportunity he gets to represent the Under-18s in The FA Youth Cup this season.
Despite being accustomed to representing Martin Hunter’s Under-21 side regularly, the midfielder refused to play down the importance that the tournament brings as he prepares to be in contention to face Charlton Athletic in the Fourth Round.
The 18-year-old, who undoubtedly provided an experienced and composed presence in the heart of Saints’ midfield in their Third Round win over Portsmouth, is hoping to replicate that influence when they host the Addicks on Wednesday night at St Mary’s.
“Everyone wants to play in this competition,” Flannigan affirmed to Saints Player. “Everyone has been trying hard to get into the squad. There’s definitely competition for places because it’s a great tournament to be in. To play at the stadium is a great opportunity.
“It’s a bit different from the U21s but it’s all about just getting used to it. I really enjoyed it.
“I just try and be calm in my possession. Obviously we’ve got a few younger lads so it’s good to be calm around them and make sure they’re comfortable.”
Flannigan was speaking after Saints faced Sparsholt College in a friendly – an exercise to sharpen Jason Dodd’s side up technically and physically for what the youngster knows will be a gruelling test.
Jake continued: “We’ve been working in training on different scenarios. It’s just been about implementing those and testing for Wednesday. Doddsy stuck me up for the final 30 minutes and I was lucky to get a goal.
“They (Charlton) are going to be a physical side. We know what to expect from them. This is why we play in games like this, to prepare for it. All the lads are confident and ready to take them on.”