Premier League

AVB praises Saints' academy

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Fri, 03 May 2013 22:51:00

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has compared Southampton's youth academy with Barcelona's famed La Masia school.

The likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana have all come through the Saints' youth ranks and that has not gone unnoticed by Villas-Boas, whose side host Southampton on Saturday.

He said: "Sometimes there are clubs that keep developing and nurturing players, then there are clubs that go for scouting.

"In Portugal, Sporting Lisbon is the development club and great players have come out of that school.

"They haven't produced the results in the first team as they wanted in the modern era. Porto invest in a later stage and don't develop the player.

"Southampton falls into the same category as Sporting Lisbon, like Barcelona, which is to nurture.

"But it is a great school of development - a bit like West Ham."

Up until this year, Ledley King was the only Tottenham player who came through the youth ranks and made an impact on the first team.

But Steven Caulker, Andros Townsend and Tom Carroll all appear to have bright futures ahead of them and Spurs' development team currently top the newly created Under-21 Elite Group league.

"Tottenham has a great school with great young players," Villas-Boas said.

"The biggest jump for a young player is from the development team into the first team, and that gap they can try to bridge with the Under-21 league.

"But it's the first year and it needs time to get established. In the end I think it will allow players to get into the first team a little more often."

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