Tottenham’s Villas-Boas praises Southampton’s youth academy
Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas heaps praise on Southampton's youth academy which produced Gareth Bale
Andre Villas-Boas has heaped praise on Southampton’s youth academy ahead of Tottenham’s clash against the Saints at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
Southampton have a rich tradition of producing some of the Premier League’s best talent, with Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer starting his career at the south-coast club, while Wayne Bridge was another Saints graduate.
In recent years, Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott have all come through the Southampton youth system before sealing moves to north London, with Bale joining Spurs and the England duo moving to Arsenal.
And Villas-Boas compared Southampton’s academy to Barcelona’s lauded La Masia, which has produced the likes of Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Pedro over the past decade.
“Sometimes there are clubs that keep developing and nurturing players, then there are clubs that go for scouting,” said Villas-Boas.
“In Portugal, Sporting Lisbon is the development club and great players have come out of that school.
“They haven’t produced the results in the first team as they wanted in the modern era. Porto invest in a later stage and don’t develop the player.
“Southampton falls into the same category as Sporting Lisbon, like Barcelona, which is to nurture.
“But it is a great school of development – a bit like West Ham.”
Villas-Boas is also pleased with Tottenham’s progress when it comes to developing their own youth stars, with Steven Caulker and Andros Townsend both impressing in the top flight this term.
“Tottenham has a great school with great young players,” Villas-Boas added.
“The biggest jump for a young player is from the development team into the first team, and that gap they can try to bridge with the Under-21 league.
“But it’s the first year and it needs time to get established. In the end I think it will allow players to get into the first team a little more often.”