Fleming: We're a hard team to beat

By SFC Media Fri 26 Jan Leicester v Saints
Photo by James Bridle | Craig Fleming

Hard work and industry are key components to any success, and Under-18s coach Craig Fleming has identified both traits as fundamental to his young side's recent progression.

Saints' young charges have propelled themselves in to third in the Under-18s Premier League standings, second only to Chelsea and Arsenal, with the chance to close the four-point gap against Leicester City tomorrow.

Unbeaten since mid-October, Fleming attributes much of their purple patch to sheer determination and willingness to improve, epitomised by Michael Obafemi's recent rise to fame - with a first-team debut against Tottenham last weekend.

Talking ahead of tomorrow's Leicester clash, Fleming commented: "First and foremost the hard work they've put in. You don't get results without the necessary work rate.

"They've worked their socks off since pre-season on all aspects of the game. We're a really hard team to beat now - not always fluent in possession, but as a foundation, we're a hard team to break down.

"The boys look at the table, and that is reward for them. Myself and Dan look at development and progression as markers. We want them to make the 23s, the first-team and so on. Fundamentally our job is to help these young boys learn how to win games, so our league position is a win win."

it proves that the pathway is still there and that if you're good enough, at this club, you'll be afforded your chance!

craig fleming
on michael obafemi's senior debut

A mere 17-years of age, young striker Obafemi 'realised his dream' when called upon by Mauricio Pellegrino last weekend. Fleming reflected on the achievement: "Myself, Danny Butterfield, and everyone who is connected with Michael feels a sense of pride, the same way we do with every successful academy graduate.

"He deserved his moment, he has worked very hard and is an incredible threat with his pace!

"It was nearly a fairytale ending for him, with that chance against Spurs. It is getting harder to progress on to first team level here, because it is so competitive, but it proves that the pathway is still there and that if you're good enough, at this club, you'll be afforded your chance."

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