It’s no secret that Southampton have a rather special youth academy. In the last 30 years It’s produced more than a few England internationals, the Premier League’s all time top scorer and the worlds most expensive player. They have consistently produced fantastic footballers, something that isn’t easy, only a couple of teams across the globe can claim such a feat, and they certainly aren’t finished yet. The lot coming through now are rumoured to be just as good as any, if not even better! There are no less than 12 youth players at Southampton playing in international development squads to date. One of them is Sam Gallagher. The 6 foot-four striker has worked hard from day one at Saints and has got his reward, last weekend Sam scored his first goal in Saints colours. a superb solo run was followed by a finish that anyone would have been proud of, but the good news didn’t stop there for Saints new wonder kid, Gallagher was handed his first start against Arsenal on Tuesday night. He performed admirabley and was unlucky not hit the back of the net, if not once then maybe twice. The striker has pace to go along with his physical presence, a combination few footballers can boast.
Sam signed for Saints from Plymouth Argyle in April 2012 and immediately made big impressions by hitting a hat-trick on his debut for the U16 team. Not long after came International interest, not from Sam’s from the logical choice of England, his country of birth, but Scotland who he registered for, due to the nationality of his grandmother, however in the future he feels he’d switch. “I will definitely consider switching if I feel the timing is right.” He said. “Who wouldn’t want to play for England!”
Something that will never be forgotten by Sam is the 7-0 demolition of our friends down the coast, in an FA Youth Cup game at The SMS. Saints were a different class that day and Sam was certainly no exception. A hat-trick capped of a sterling performance by the starlet. He said “it was amazing just to beat Pompey in the way that we did, let alone score a hat-trick”. However that simply wet the appetite of the forward who admitted “he was disappointed not to score even more!”
When asked about his run in the first team, he had this to say.
“Well I maybe didn’t expect at the start of the season that I would be in the position that I am at the moment. Which just goes to show how quickly things can change. There is a big difference between playing 5 or so minutes at the end of a game and being in the starting 11 so I know that I’ll need to keep working and trying to improve. I know I’ve got a lot to learn”
When I asked his opinions on why he felt the academy was so special he said “The main characteristics coaches look for throughout the club is for player’s is to have the right attitude on and off the pitch. That means working hard, wanting to learn and improve and obviously having the potential ability to be a first team player in the future.”
It’s clear whatever the future holds for Sam Gallagher, It’s at Southampton. Like Luke Shaw there’s no reason to move, he’s at the best place for him to be right now, for his development as a footballer. Staying a Saints can only mean progress, and to a serious extent.