Southampton Football Club is currently in dire straits as they sit at the bottom of the Premier League with only six games remaining. The club’s future in the top tier of English football is under threat, and a shift in the squad could potentially be on the horizon if the club is relegated to the Championship next season.
The Saints possess a lot of talents in their line-up, but it is their youth academy that has produced some of the most talented players in the Premier League, including Champions League winner Gareth Bale and 2020/21 PFA Team of the Year member Luke Shaw. The latter’s success could be a blueprint for their latest academy graduate, Thierry Small, who could potentially become the next Luke Shaw.
Small, an 18-year-old left-back, joined Southampton from Everton in the summer of 2021 for just £5m after impressing for the Blues’ youth team and the England U18s side. The player has shown remarkable versatility, playing in defence or acting as a defensive midfielder. He also enjoys being on the ball and has the ability to pick a pass or cross, much like Luke Shaw.
Small has been praised by Carlo Ancelotti, who described him as “one of the best players in the academy.” The teenager has also showcased his attacking ability by registering four goals and one assist in 17 appearances for Southampton B in the 2021/22 Premier League 2 season.
Small is currently on loan at St Mirren, where he has already registered one assist in just five starts in the Scottish Premier League. His strengths in crossing and set-piece situations have also been noted by WhoScored.
Despite the uncertain future of Southampton Football Club, the club’s fans can take solace in the fact that they have another promising talent in their academy. Should the worst happen, they can potentially build their squad around players like Thierry Small, who has the potential to become the next Luke Shaw.