April 18, 2024

Southampton has a strong history of creating players from its Staplewood academy, including Matt Le Tissier and Alan Shearer.

Jack Stephens and Will Smallbone are the most recent success stories from the famed academy system, and there are a number of outstanding adolescents emerging right now who hope to break into Russell Martin’s first squad.

In addition to recruiting from the neighboring communities on the south coast, the Saints have invested in a far-reaching scouting network.

Joe O’Brien-Whitmarsh is a product of the international network, having arrived from Irish club Cork City in January.

Before signing with Southampton, he was pursued by several clubs, including Aston Villa, Leeds United, and Everton.

Since his arrival, the 18-year-old midfielder has made five appearances for the under-21s in Premier League 2 and has surprised staff with one thing.

Joe O’Brien-Whitmarsh suprising Southampton coaches

O’Brien-Whitmarsh has scored twice in his past two outings and is making a strong impact at Staplewood.

However, according to Daily Echo journalist Alfie House, his pace has surprised several of the coaching staff.

“It was O’Brien-Whitmarsh’s lightning-quick pace that surprised some observers following his first few appearances,” House said in a statement.

O’Brien-Whitmarsh said that the comments surprised him as well: “My older brother mocks me about it because he’s a little faster, but I’ll take it as a complement.

“I think I run faster with the ball than without it! That is excellent to hear, though.

Joe O’Brien-Whitmarsh ready for Southampton debut

Joe O'Brien-Whitmarsh's first Saints interview | Video | Southampton FC  Official Site

 

Although the young midfielder is only 18, he has already experienced first-team football.

O’Brien-Whitmarsh, who has been capped at junior level by Ireland, made 27 professional games for Cork City before moving to the south coast.

During that time, he shown his ability to sniff out opportunities and score from midfield, scoring four times.

 

If he continues to impress in Southampton’s reserve side, he could make his senior debut soon, as Martin has shown a willingness to promote young players.

Samuel Amo-Ameyaw and Tyler Dibling have both been handed opportunities off the bench this season, and it appears that another Staplewood talent is coming closer to the first team.

Saints have a bright future ahead of them, with several promising young players building a name for themselves.

It’s simply a matter of allowing them to grow at the appropriate moment and not hurrying their development.

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