Academy Manager Matt Hale has this week been discussing his delight at how many young players have made big strides towards the first team recently, with no less than six Academy debuts in the past calendar year.
More than that, under manager Ralph Hasenhüttl, Saints have actually fielded a total of eight graduates in a matchday squad this season, something that Hale believes is not only testament to the boys’ hard work, but the club’s philosophy around opportunity.
And despite the transition, Radhi Jaïdi’s Under-23s continue to jointly lead Premier League 2, in their pursuit for Division 1 football - another pleasing factor for Hale and all professional phase coaches.
“What we've always been about at Southampton is giving young players the chance to thrive and supporting them through that process,” he began. “It's a culture.
“Our strap-line is of course turning potential into excellence, and that backs up what our Academy is all about.
“We're exceptionally proud to have had eight players from our Academy in a matchday squad this season; the productivity keeps going so it's a very pleasing time.
“It fills me with pride, but also all the staff that have been involved with these young players' development.
“We have that dream of trying to produce a first-team squad that's made up of 50% graduates. We're working hard towards that. And it's not just a statement, it's a belief that we can absolutely nurture young players with ability to reach the right levels of performance.
“The belief from the Board is excellent here, and it’s equally important that we have a manager who understands our club philosophy, which is all about providing opportunity.”