April 13, 2024

A former Southampton teenager has explained why he controversially left Everton to join the South Coast club.

Southampton’s Staplewood academy has produced numerous first-team players, with Matt Le Tisier and Alan Shearer serving as poster boys.

Because of their excellent reputation for training young players, the club has been able to attract exceptional adolescents from academies across the country.

Romeo Lavia and Tino Livramento, who came from Manchester City and Chelsea, are excellent instances of this.

The duo thrived in the Southampton first squad before departing last summer for a combined fee of £98 million.

Thierry Small was another player who joined the South Coasters with great promise, and in a recent interview with London News Online, he disclosed all about his contentious move from Everton.

Thierry Small reveals why he signed for Southampton

Small made history as Everton’s youngest player when he featured in an FA Cup fourth-round match against Sheffield Wednesday in January 2021 at the age of 16 years and 176 days.

The England youth international was expected to achieve great heights, and Everton were eager to sign him to a three-year contract.

Manchester United, Arsenal, and Bayern Munich were all keeping an eye on his contract situation, but it was Southampton that he chose to join not long after turning 17.

When asked about his controversial Everton exit, Small commented, “The way Everton was, I wish I could’ve left on better terms.”

“The way it got out was not quite accurate; there was a lot of erroneous conjecture about the relocation to Southampton.

“Going there was simply a family decision to advance my career. You must take risks; sometimes they pay off, sometimes they do not; it is all part of life.

“It was a positive experience to be around the first-team environment at the age of 17. I don’t think many guys would have done that at my age, so the experience itself was incredible.

“It was difficult to adapt because I was new to first-team football. I moved from being a scholar to a first-team position in the Premier League. It took some time for me to adjust mentally to this transition.

“But then you have a few loans and develop, it’s a natural part of the game – you grow, not just as a player but also as a person.”

Thierry Small reinvigorated at Charlton

Thierry Small makes St Mirren loan move | Article | Southampton FC Official  Site

 

Small spent time on loan at Port Vale and St. Mirren before his contract with the Saints was mutually ended earlier this year.

The 19-year-old joined Charlton on a free transfer in February and has since become an integral part of the League One club, playing every minute of the previous seven games.

Small is beginning to realise his early promise under former Saints boss Nathan Jones, but he feels the best is yet to come.

“To be honest, they have only seen a small portion of what I am capable of. I believe that with more experience and working with the manager, I will be able to advance in my game.”

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