Southampton are a model club for others, says England U21 boss Gareth Southgate

Saints FC/ Twitter

England under-21 head coach Gareth Southgate believes that Premier League surprise package Southampton can be the model for others to follow in the future.

sit third in the English top-flight, just two points off the summit, having enjoyed an outstanding start to the season with their brand of high-pressure, possession football.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side signed off for the international break with a – a result that left Steve Bruce singing their praises – in the presence of Hodgson and with six English-born players in their starting XI, while 80 percent of the side were 25 or under.

As such, the south coast side have this week seen five of their most talented Englishman called up for international duty.

Adam Lallana and forward Jay Rodriguez joined Rickie Lambert in for the friendlies and Germany, while Luke Shaw, 18, and James Ward-Prowse, 19, are both part of Southgate’s under-21 squad.

And Southgate believes the investment in youth at St Mary’s shows smaller clubs can find a way of competing against the big-spending sides.

"It is a very well-run football club with a good structure," he said.

"They have invested in the top end but they have also, for a long time, had a very well-run academy and a first-team manager [] who I spent a day with a couple of weeks ago who is really positive about youth development.

"He is always trying to improve the individual player in many aspects and you can see why they are where they are as a club.

"They have tried to develop people as well as players and certainly the boys in our squad have been a credit to them as a club off the field and they can also play.

"It is very impressive what they are doing. When you have structures like that and you identify and develop talent they way they have you get the rewards they are getting now."

Southgate’s side head into their Euro 2015 qualifiers against Finland and San Marino sitting top of Group One, with their last showing having been a .

And Southgate says that morale within the camp is good, and that there have been no lasting recriminations following between and during the game at Portman Road.


"What I said to them was all of the good things both of those two did on the night were overshadowed because we had to answer questions about what they did on the night," added the former Middlesbrough boss.

"There has to be an understanding that now, with the profile of the games they are involved in, that can happen but in terms of the harmony of the group, that has been terrific.

"Socially around the hotel the table tennis table is getting a hammering because they are competitive and it is pleasing to see.

"You don’t see cliques, I see different people walking around with others and the whole group interact really well."


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