Crystal Palace v Southampton: Tony Pulis impressed by emergence of Luke Shaw and other Saints youngsters
A number of academy graduates have impressed for this weekend's visitors to Selhurst Park
Friday 07 March 2014
Tony Pulis believes Southampton have solved the puzzle of bringing through academy players - but warned that tempting offers from other clubs could still see that homegrown talent fly the nest.
Southampton have drawn the plaudits for their attractive football under Mauricio Pochettino and the backbone of the Argentinian's side are products of Saints' youth academy.
Calum Chambers, James Ward-Prowse, Adam Lallana, Sam Gallagher and England's latest cap Luke Shaw have all played some part for Southampton this season and Palace boss Pulis is not at all surprised.
"They have done it consistently for a long time," he said.
"They haven't just stumbled over it. They have the jigsaw sorted out and all the pieces are in the right place, we don't do that a lot in this country.
"I know a little about the club and there are people who have been there for years and years. They have a good scouting set-up and the people who work there, even before you become a professional, are very good lads.
"They don't worry about just the technical side of it, they look at attitude, commitment and responsibility. Most of the lads who have come out of that club are not only good players, they are good lads."
Other players to have come through the ranks at Southampton include talent such as Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Bale moved on to Tottenham before a massive-money move to Real Madrid while England pair Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain are making their mark at Arsenal.
Shaw has been constantly linked with a summer move to Chelsea or Manchester United and Pulis admits it is hard for Southampton to keep hold of all of their talent.
"I think they accept that," he said.
"Tottenham lost Bale, they are one of the top clubs in England but they lost him to one of the top clubs in the world - that happens."
Palace themselves are still embroiled in the Barclays Premier League relegation battle and welcome Southampton to Selhurst Park on Saturday with Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool still to visit south London.
The Eagles also face a number of other sides in the survival battle as trips to Sunderland, Cardiff and Fulham loom on the horizon.
"We know how tough this run is for us," conceded Pulis.
"We have got it as tough as anybody in the bottom 10 but we will get our heads down and work as hard as we can.
"There are 10 or 11 teams still fighting for their lives and we are ahead of the game in a lot of respects because we are still in with a chance and nobody gave us that chance a short time ago.
"It is very difficult to stop the players looking at things. You can get so confused and uptight and lose a lot of energy worrying about things you can't affect."
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