Nigel Adkins was full of praise for academy star James Ward-Prowse after he made his first league appearance for Saints in the most incredible of circumstances.

The 17-year-old, whose only previous experience had come in two cup matches last season, was handed a starting place in the team to face champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

Ward-Prowse could have been forgiven for being a little overawed but stay composed and very much impressed his manager.

“What a great debut for James Ward-Prowse,” smiled Adkins. “The vision of the football club is to get 50 per cent of players in the team through the academy and I think everyone at the academy should be so proud that, at 17, young James made his debut and I thought he was outstanding.

“His mentality is top drawer.

“He’s been training with the first team for the last two years and we are doing everything we can to have that culture where we can bring the youngsters through the system. We have been dipping him in and out on a regular basis, travelling with the first team and four of them have stepped up and had a full pre-season with the first team and his mentality is top drawer. Nothing fazes him.

“It was going to be interesting to see what happened to him and he was outstanding I thought.”