Saints defence coach Alan Dickens has said that the young players in the squad have made a real impression this season and taken their opportunities to shine.
“One of the massive positives this year is the opportunity that has been given to a lot of the younger players,” said Dickens, speaking to Saints TV.
“They’ve come in and made their mark on the first team. Those boys have had opportunities and they’ve grabbed them with both hands. Going forward that puts us in a good position.”
Dickens has first hand experience of player development following his time in the Academy and credits Head Coach Jim Mallinder with putting an emphasis on developing talent.
“It’s something that Jim was keen to push,” said Dickens. “In order for us to keep on getting better and having a strong squad, these players have got to come through.
“They need to keep pushing through and keep putting us under pressure as coaches”
Dickens was also keen to note that whilst the Academy graduates have impressed, it’s also important to look at the bigger picture.
“I think it’s not just about the Academy success. We’ve got a lot of English qualified players playing for us as well, which is good for club and country.”