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Shearer: Southampton a template for developing young players

Former Southampton player Alan Shearer is impressed with how the Saints develop young talent and feels other clubs should take note. Real Madrid's Gareth Bale and Arsenal's Theo Walcott followed Shearer through the club's academy as did Adam Lallana, who made his England debut last week.

"How can Southampton carry on churning out players whereas big clubs have struggled to do that?" asked Shearer.

"The answer, probably, is that they are giving their kids a chance.

"It's refreshing that they are continuing to produce youngsters at an academy that has worked wonders over the years.

"The money that football club has made out of their youth academy, it's a model for everyone to look at."

The BBC Match of the Day pundit said "one of the reasons" he chose to join Southampton as a schoolboy in 1986 was they have "always given players a chance".

"That started with Danny Wallace, Steve Williams, Matt Le Tissier, myself, Rod Wallace, Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott - and the guys coming through now like Lallana, Shaw and Ward-Prowse," he added.

"That hasn't just happened this season, it's been happening for years. It's incredible and a model that a lot of people should look at."

The Premier League is attempting to give English youngsters more opportunities through its £320m Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP), where academies have been graded and more coaches recruited to help improve standards.

Shearer continued: "It's an argument that youngsters are probably not getting a chance at bigger clubs because of the huge demand for success so they try and go out and buy it.

"I know plans are in place to try and correct that through the EPPP but Southampton have been doing that for years and years."

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Dave Williams

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