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Poch: don't pressure young stars
Mauricio Pochettino has warned against expecting too much too soon of Saints’ brilliant young guns.
As the club have climbed the Premier League much attention has been focussed on their core of academy produced talent.
At the forefront of that is 18-year-old duo Luke Shaw (pictured below), widely being tipped for England honours in the near future, and James Ward-Prowse, who is making a name for himself with the national under-21 side.
Pochettino is delighted with their progress but has warned against unrealistic expectations with players of such a tender age.
He said: “All players are very important for this club. It is clear he (Ward-Prowse) has special qualities that enable him to be here and start games which he has been doing so far this season.
“We also have to remember that players like Prowsey and Luke Shaw are only 18.
l Continued on page 44 From back page “Sometimes we speak about them as if they are 24 or 25-years-old. We have to remember they are only 18 and have a very long path they have to go through and have a lot to learn still.”
The emphasis on youth has made Saints’ form this season even more exciting.
Pochettino says it was always part of his plan and that Saints will do all they can to ensure their young talent is not sold on as it has been in the past.
“It was very clear from the moment Nicola Cortese called me that we were going to focus on the academy to strengthen the academy and use as many from the academy as possible,” said the Saints boss.
“I am a full believer in that philosophy to use as many players and I am a keen supporter in supporting young players, nurturing them and making sure they come through the ranks and can be part of this football club.”
He added: “We cannot control or avoid other clubs being interested in our young players.
“We will do as much as we can to make sure they are here for a very long time.”
Pochettino has seen an improvement in his entire squad, but of nobody has that been truer than captain Adam Lallana who has been truly outstanding so far this season.
“From the moment I arrived at Southampton I noticed he was a very special player,” said Pochettino.
“He was born here and has been part of this club for a very long time and he’s the captain.
“I think he can do amazingly well for this club.
“I think all players have improved in the time I have been here.
“It’s very satisfying for me to see their evolution and how they’ve improved in the ten months we’ve been here.
“It’s a great satisfaction to see they have all improved.”
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