How Good Are Southampton's Youngsters?
Without Adam Lallana, the team seemed out of sorts once again. Having now played seven games without Adam, and with us yet to see a win when without him, this particular situation is becoming more than a tad disconcerting.
We have made no signings other than the two loanies Richard Chaplow and Guly do Prado apart from extending Adam Lallana's contract.
Recently we have seen a couple of youngsters on the bench which though heartening in some ways also shows that we appear to have little strength in depth to call upon.
So what of our youngsters. Who have we that could do a job for the team? Oscar Gobern who has come on twice as a sub recently without doing himself justice is one.
Then there is Ryan Doble who has been called up to the Welsh national side for experience after doing well for their Under 21's. Ryan still awaits a real chance to show what he has to offer.
Aaron Martin is a highly promising central defender and is curently captain of the under 21 side. He has played a total of 7 games for us and has always looked like a player who could form part of our defense for several years.
Ryan Tafazolli is another highly promising defender who can also switch to the midfield. He is on loan at Salisbury right now and has done extremely well, and is helping them push for automatic promotion back to the Blue Square Southern division.
Several players have come through our academy to make a name for themselves in recent times. Walcott and Bale being but two of them.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is the latest of our youngsters to have the premiership scouts hunting him down as they search for future stars.
Alex has done tremendously well for us this season and has made an outstanding contribution to the way that the team has played. Taking on and beating his marker has been a regular event since he staked his claim on a place.
Still only 17 Alex needs to be protected and not over played but it can be difficult when he is far and away the best option on the right side of midfield. He has tremendous pace and can also use the ball well when in position after beating his man,to either lay it off or cross.
We also have Joseph 'Fish' Mills who is currently playing in the championship with Doncaster and is a regular and is doing well. Good enough for the CCC but unable to get a regular slot in our team?
Other names who we have high hopes for are Aaran Racine a big strong centre back. Sam Argent who is shaping well at right back.There is also Callum McNish who we brought fom Watford and is turning into a highly combative central midfielder.
So are any of these going to make the grade and help Saints climb to the top? I for one like to think so. One in particular, Aaron Martin, I would love to see play more regularly for the first team so we can see whether he is actually good enough. I, myself think he is ready and would put him in now.
There are more players coming through that may make the grade and the only way we will find out is to play them.
Are we so desperate to succeed that we will buy before giving these players a real chance? Or is there a player or two that should already be playing regularly?