IT didn’t take long for Radhi Jaidi to realise that Ralph Hasenhuttl was different from what had come before.

During Hasenhuttl’s first week at Staplewood, he made it his mission to catch a glimpse of what was bubbling underneath the surface of the first team.

This led him to one of Jaidi’s Under-23s training sessions.

And even though Hasenhuttl’s remit was to keep Saints in the Premier League, what he did next caught Jaidi by surprise.

Daily Echo: Ralph HasenhuttlRalph Hasenhuttl

“I am now a manager for the Under-23s and you know who has listened and who hasn’t,” revealed Jaidi.

“He is not afraid to take actions to bring the players to the first team and to give them the opportunity.

“That’s the first thing he said in his interviews when he came. It was pleasing to hear that and straight away you could see it.

“When he first came to Staplewood, he watched the Under-23s first. 

“He even came to the dressing room to pick some players at half time and told me to stop playing them as he wanted them in the first team.

“I was disappointed, but he told me he wants Tyreke Johnson and told me he wasn’t going to play in the second half because he will train with the first team tomorrow.

“And he did.

“I was just thinking, ‘Thank you, Ralph’. It was the first time I had experienced that kind of thing. 

“We had Mauricio Pochettino before who did a similar thing with Sam Gallagher, Luke Shaw, Matt Targett and Sam McQueen.

Daily Echo: Tyreke JohnsonTyreke Johnson

“Ralph is the kind of manager who listens really well to what we tell him, and he considers it.

“Sometimes he referred back to his situation, but he listens. 

“I think that’s the difference between a manager and a manager.”

Jaidi has already witnessed Yan Valery, Tyreke Johnson, Marcus Barnes, Callum Slattery and Kayne Ramsay all make their first team debuts this season.

Former first team boss Mark Hughes handed Valery his debut, but it was Hasenhuttl who promoted the others.

The Austrian has, rightly, received a lot of credit for putting his faith in the youngsters, although, Jaidi is the one who has coached them to that level.

His management this year has seen his side seal promotion from the Premier League 2 Division 2 via the play-offs.

As well as that, they've also experienced a Premier League International Cup semi-final which was hosted at St Mary's.

However, instead of taking all of the credit for this, Jaidi claims that Hasenhuttl's arrival has made his job so much easier because the players can see a pathway into the first team. 

Daily Echo: Yan ValeryYan Valery

And it's this pathway that has inspired the Under-23s to a standout season.

“It was difficult and frustrating sometimes when the manager listened to you but didn’t do anything or when they don’t listen at all because of their job with the first team,” continued Jaidi.

“I understand that the manager needs to focus on their job. Ralph had to focus on keeping us in the Premier League because it’s a huge responsibility.

“But at some point, you need to keep an eye on who is coming next to keep feeding your squad and to keep challenging your first team players.

“They will probably benefit from young, quality players that we have coming into the first team.

“From my position, I think it’s easier for me to show, and encourage, the boys to be aware of that opportunity.

“We have had eight players involved on a daily basis with the first team to train and experience that intensity and the demands from the first team environment.

“Also, five have made their debuts and the rest, especially with Ralph who really cares about the kids, will hopefully add to that list.

“For the moment, the boys need to understand that they need to be ready for that level. They need to be ready for the high expectations and demands from that level.

“We are working hard to close the gap between the Under-23s and the first team because the opportunity is there.

Southampton is one of the bravest teams in the Premier League because we aren’t scared to bring players into the first team.”

From just a short time in Jaidi’s company, you can tell he is destined to go places.

He is celebrating a decade at Saints this year, three of those years were as a player, with the following seven in charge of the U23s.

Daily Echo: Radhi JaidiRadhi Jaidi

As well as developing his players on the pitch, Jaidi wants to develop them into better people.

And this is something that the former Tunisian international is delighted with.

He added: “I proudly say it.

“The whole academy has been involved with the development of these players and I am the last one before they go to the first team.

“The work within the academy is huge.

“The players come in on Sunday afternoons to do some jobs. They follow my instructions which makes my job, ideas and perceptions easier.

“I think we have a bunch of players who are really mature, and you can see it from their behaviours and attitudes on a daily basis.

“We are together here more than we are with our own families and I observe them on a daily basis to see how they react.

“I have spoken a lot to the players informally and advised them about being professional 24/7 and having the right mindset.

“I make them aware of the instructions and try not to reduce that, so they focus on their objectives as a professional.

“The first team messages help a lot because the players can see the opportunity and they will improve to follow that. It’s work, not on a daily basis, but an hourly one.”