U18 Preview: Saints vs Spurs

By SFC Media time Fri 31 Aug Saints v Spurs
Photo by James Bridle | Christian Norton

Get the lowdown on the young Saints’ weekend opponents Spurs, ahead of their Under-18 Premier League clash at Staplewood Campus…

THE MATCH

Southampton U18s vs Tottenham U18s
Under-18 Premier League
Saturday 1st September, 11:30am BST
Staplewood Campus

Saturday's opponents Spurs are three for three in this year's Under-18s Premier League competition, and sit joint top of the standings with a full complement of nine points.

The productive start is a continuation of last year's impressive haul, as former player Scott Parker led the north London youngsters to a Premier League Cup final, and finished their league schedule with a 9-0 drubbing of rivals Arsenal.

Parker has however since departed Hotspur Lane, to join Slavisa Jokanovic's backroom staff at Fulham, and has been replaced by Matt Wells, who has been with the club in a coaching capacity since 2014.

Saints, on the other hand, enjoyed a lively 2-2 draw with Fulham last weekend, and will be keen to register their first win of the season after such an encouraging showing last time out.

LAST SEASON

Spurs were 2-0 victors at Staplewood last term, but the reverse fixture yielded a 1-1 draw, which included a spectacular finish from young Saints fullback Kayne Ramsay.

COACH’S THOUGHTS

Coach Paul Hardyman was pleased with last week's second half comeback against Fulham, but has stressed that his youngsters need to be tougher in their defensive third to begin winning games.

"We still need to work on defending. It seems to be a bit of a dying art in many ways, even in the Premier League," the Under-18s coach said.

"Teams at this level score a lot of goals, and we need to keep working at ways to reduce that.

"In the modern game fullbacks are encouraged to get forward, which perhaps leaves defensive units exposed. For managers and coaches, we want to keep clean sheets.

"I'd much rather see us defend well throughout and nick a one nil. It's a challenge that we need to undertake if we're going to be successful this year.

"On reflection, I think our performances have been good enough to win games. We haven't killed teams off at the right moments.

"We're working on becoming more resolute, and being harder to beat.

"Young players are learning and evolving. This year, we're having to fight for points which is the real difference from football at the younger age groups."

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