RADHI Jaidi believes he isn’t far off from taking the next step in management - but insisted he has never been happier at Saints.

The former defender has done a tremendous job with the Under-23s this year, guiding them to promotion from the Premier League 2 Division 2 and to the semi-final of the International Cup.

As well as that, his management credentials have been boosted by a number of his players making their way into Saints’ first team.

Speaking to the Daily Echo, Jaidi said: “I am really happy being around Southampton Football Club.

“I started playing at this club in 2009 and was involved in back-to-back promotions and getting us into the Premier League.

“What I am doing know comes intrinsically to fulfil my job and it’s important for the people to know that.

“I have been here 10 years now and for 10 years I have never thought about myself, I’ve only thought about the club with every decision I make.

“I find it magic and inspiring. I try and pass that onto the players.

“It’s really important that I learnt a lot and have passed the halfway point and I am not far from going to the next step.

“I am really enjoying myself, I want to learn more, and I want to help this club and the academy to be the best it can be.

“We have a good base with the Under-23s and we are trying to make it as big as possible to help the club moving forward, in terms of developing players and pushing them into the first team.

“I have been in the first team enough as a player to know what it is like there.”

One of the players that Jaidi helped break into the first team was defender Yan Valery.

The 19-year-old was taken under the U23s boss’ wing and nurtured into an exciting, young right back.

Ex-manager Mark Hughes handed the Frenchman his debut last November, with current chief Ralph Hasenhuttl shipping Cedric Soares on loan in favour of Valery.

Although the youngster has been this year’s standout graduate from the youth ranks, there have been others who have taken the next step, too.

Tyreke Johnson, Callum Slattery, Marcus Barnes and Kayne Ramsay have all made appearances for the first team this year.

And as a testament to his development, Jaidi is backing Valery to become a leader for the senior side.

He added: “We have been showing this through the years and not just now, last season and the time before.

“I was in the dressing room with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana who had been promoted from the academy.”

“Yan came from far. We got him two years ago from France and showed a good desire and commitment to improve himself.

“He also benefitted from the opportunity he had with the first team.

“What Yan has is a strong character and the will to make things happen.

“He showed a really big improvement and is one of the main players for the first team.

“He can build up and be one of the leaders in the first team, but he needs to carry on working the same as some others who are training with the first team.

“They need to have that awareness of working on a daily basis. They are not first team yet and they aren’t confirmed yet.

“Yan should thing far ahead. That’s my advice for him.

“The whole club, and especially the academy, is proud of what Yan has achieved this season and hopefully there is more coming.”