Top 10 Southampton academy graduates of all time
Southampton FC are on the oldest clubs in England and have a long and rich history of producing world-class talent. In recent times, the Saints' production line reached new heights after having produced twenty-eight internationals since the turn of the decade.
The opening of the Markus Liebherr Pavilion, a £30 million training complex in 2014, turned a corner for the Saints. The South Coast side holds a Category 1 status in the Premier League's new Elite Player Performance Plan and currently has more than 20 international players in their academy.
Looking back at the number of big names that came through the academy, it's a difficult task to pick out the ten best names.
10. Theo Walcott
Signed by Southampton FC at the age of 11, the pacy forward is the youngest player to score for the senior team as well as the youngest to make an appearance for the reserves and the first team.
Theo Walcott was an instant sensation when he made his debut for the South Coast side in 2005 as a 16-year old. He played 21 times for the Saints, scoring 5 goals, and ended the season with a call-up to the 2006 England World Cup squad under Sven Goran Eriksson.
The following season saw him moving to the Emirates for a fee of around £5 million. Almost 12 seasons, 397 appearances, 108 goals, and two FA Cups Walcott moved to Everton in 2018 where he currently plies his trade.
Now in his 30s, Walcott looks far from his best, with injuries playing spoilsport during his promising career.
9. Wayne Bridge
A local lad, Bridge joined the Saints Academy pretty late at the age of 16 and started his career as a centre-forward. He made his debut for the first team in 1998 and played a full season as an attacker before being converted to a left-back the next season.
Bridge was voted as the Saints Player of the Year for the 2000-01 season as Southampton finished tenth in their final season at The Dell. After five seasons with the Saints, the defender moved to Chelsea in 2003 for a reported fee of £7 million.
After a bright start at Stamford Bridge, Bridge faded out of the first team after struggling with injuries eventually joining Manchester City in 2009. Five years later the full-back hung up his boot after having won the Premier League, FA Cup, and the League Cup.