Southampton are set to launch a ground-breaking coaching initiative in North America as they look to unearth the next generation of Saints stars.
The St Mary’s outfit has been one of the major success stories in English football in recent seasons after rising from League One to the Premier League.
Southampton’s renaissance came after they also managed to stave off serious financial problems to launch the careers of a number of top players including full internationals Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale, Luke Shaw and Morgan Schneiderlin.
The Saints’ on-field strides have seen so-called bigger clubs come calling for their best players over the last few years and so Chairman Ralph Krueger is now determined to ensure they manage to find future stars across the Atlantic.
Krueger, whose background is in ice hockey, said: “If you do any market research on the Premier League we are near the top, if not at the top, when it comes to teaching the game.
“If you come to Southampton as an eight-year-old, 16-year-old or 29-year-old, you improve.”
“James Ward-Prowse comes as a child and is now captain of the England Under-21 team, Morgan Schneiderlin plays a decade with us and is now the centrepiece of the Manchester United team and Graziano Pelle comes at 29 and he’s the lead striker for Italy.”
“It’s not about age, it’s about teaching. So we want to come to the US with a clear development model that we’re going to bring to academies and development centres that have over 6,000 kids in them.”