SAINTS’ academy has long been the envy of the footballing world.

The great names to have come through the club’s youth ranks start way back when and takes in luminaries such as the Wallaces, Shearer, Le Tissier, Walcott, Bale and Lallana.

Saints are a club who in modern times have always invested in youth, and never been afraid to blood their best youngsters.

On Saturday, against the might of Manchester City, Saints finished with four 18-year-old academy products on the pitch.

Tonight’s FA Youth Cup third round tie at St Mary’s is a chance for fans to try and spot who the next star though the system might be.

Here we give a brief guide to some of the stars of Jason Dodd’s current under-18s team.

Marcus Barnes.

This season’s top scorer, with six goals, was signed to a professional contract just last week after turning 17, underlining the club’s faith in his ability.

The former Wolves man only joined the club on a full time basis in September but has already made a massive impression.

Tom Leggett.

The second year scholar has been an ever present for the under-18s in the league this season.

The right back has proved a consistent force for Jason Dodd’s team and has the inspiration of seeing Calum Chambers having broken into the first team as an 18-year-old in his position.

Jake Hesketh.

Comes into the Pompey game on a bit of form having scored against Leicester at the weekend to take his tally for the season to five.

The central midfielder was spotted by Saints scouts aged eight playing in a local youth tournament.

Josh Sims.

A big night for him as he had previously played for the Portsmouth academy.

The left sided winger has scored four goals for the under-18s this season and has impressed enough to also get a chance for the under-21s too.

Niall Mason.

Has proved himself a versatile player since joining the Saints academy just over a year ago.

Can play both as a central midfielder and a centre half.

The Lancashire-born player’s former clubs includes Blackburn Rovers and Real Madrid.

His Real sojourn began when his father Russell was working in Madrid.

Russell learned that Real were running a summer camp for kids.

He immediately enrolled Niall for a two-week course at the Bernabeu Stadium.

But the club was so impressed with his skills that it inducted him into its academy!