It’s a rare occurrence when a coach is happy to find some of his best players unavailable for selection – but, for Southampton Under-23s boss Radhi Jaïdi, that has been the case recently.
The arrival of first-team manager Ralph Hasenhüttl has resulted a number of the club’s Academy prospects being promoted into the senior ranks at times, with Yan Valery, Callum Slattery, Kayne Ramsay, Marcus Barnes and Tyreke Johnson all receiving debuts, while Michael Obafemi has also been reintroduced to the squad.
For Jaïdi, whose side are enjoying a fine season on all fronts – joint top in their Premier League 2 division, nearing qualification in the Premier League Cup and assured of a place in the knockout stages of the Premier League International Cup – you might think the loss of some key players would be in some sense frustrating, but nothing could be further from the truth.
"It makes it a pleasure for me, not hard, because, at the end of the day, that's what we're working for – developing players and giving them the opportunity to compete at the highest level,” he said.
radhi jaïdiit will serve as motivation for the rest of the boys.
southampton under-23s coach
“It's been really pleasing to see some of the boys being involved in the first-team or on the bench.
“Lately, Tyreke and Barnesy have been involved and you could see Tyreke's impact against Derby was really positive and the feedback was positive from the manager, so hopefully they'll keep themselves at that level and in that circle and learn as much as possible.
“That will serve as motivation for the rest of the boys, who didn't get the opportunity yet. It's been really positive and gives the boys hope.”