6:00am Wednesday 29th January 2014
Sam Gallagher had a night to remember as he made his first professional start against the mighty Arsenal at St Mary’s.
The 18-year-old, who has been with the club for two years after joining from Plymouth, was handed the chance after coming off the bench to score against Yeovil in the FA Cup three days previously.
With Rickie Lambert failing to recover from his hamstring problem and Dani Osvaldo suspended by the club, Mauricio Pochettino threw in the latest young Saints hotshot.
Gallagher never looked fazed during his 70 minutes on the field and showed plenty of promise, albeit he did miss a wonderful first half chance.
Pochettino was pleased with what he saw.
“I thought he had a great performance,” said the Saints boss.
“He had various chances to get on the scoresheet and wasn’t able to do so but overall I would say that he had a great performance and that his progress is coming up to standard.
“He’s doing really well and progressing as we want him to.
“I want to congratulate the academy because he’s the prime example of how well the academy is doing.
“All the great work that the coaches are doing at the academy are being showed by the players that are coming through the academy.
“It’s a great example of how Southampton works as a football club.”
Shortly after Gallagher left the field to be replaced by James Ward-Prowse there was a big moment as Mathieu Flamini was sent off for a two footed challenge on Morgan Schneiderlin.
Arsene Wenger felt the decision was a little harsh but Pochettino couldn’t comment, other than to say he didn’t feel it made a major impact on the game.
“It’s hard to say from my point of view,” said Pochettino when asked whether he thought a red card was the correct decision.
“From my point of view I cannot say whether it was a red card or not but overall Flamini’s sending off does not change the overall outcome of the game – I don’t think it had much influence in terms of what Arsenal deserved from this game and what Southampton deserved from this game.”
He added: “We tried during the full 90 minutes and we tried even more when they went down to ten men.
“I thought Szczesny had an amazing game and did really well.
“Congratulations to the players because they did really well.”
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