With the Football League’s home-grown talent rule now in effect, young players at all Clubs look set to benefit from the rule changes.
The ‘Home-Grown Players’ rule requires at least four players from Clubs’ sixteen-man matchday squads to be registered domestically, for a minimum of three seasons, prior to their 21st birthday and Southampton say they have been one step ahead of the curve when it comes to giving youth a chance.
The Saints Academy system has consistently provided a fast-track through to the first team for many young stars over time.
This investment in young players in recent years has seen the likes of Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale, David McGoldrick and Andrew Surman hone in their trade in the Club’s Academy and then make the step up to the first team and beyond.
Others including ex Apprentices Adam Lallana, Oliver Lancashire, Lloyd James, Matt Paterson, Joseph Mills, Kayne McLaggon, Oscar Gobern, Jake Thomson, Jamie White have all played key roles this year and are a mainstay in the squad for the new campaign.
Recently featured in LFE’s Touchline newsletter, Matt Paterson scored his first senior goal in Saturday’s match at St Marys Stadium to give the Saints the lead against a strong Millwall side.
The new ‘Home-Grown Players’ rule, which applies to all 72 Football League Clubs, aims to encourage the development of young footballers at League Clubs and it is hoped the rule will benefit English football as a whole.