The 18-year-old Southampton prospect who has really ‘surprised’ staff at Staplewood

Southamp­ton have had a long tra­di­tion of pro­duc­ing stars from their Sta­ple­wood acad­e­my, name­ly Matt Le Tissier and Alan Shear­er.

Jack Stephens and Will Small­bone are the lat­est suc­cess sto­ries from the pres­ti­gious acad­e­my set up and there are a num­ber of tal­ent­ed teenagers emerg­ing right now hop­ing to break into Rus­sell Martin‘s first team.

As well as recruit­ing from the sur­round­ing areas on the south coast, Saints have invest­ed in a scout­ing net­work far and beyond.

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

He was chased by a num­ber of clubs, includ­ing Aston Vil­la, Leeds Unit­ed and Ever­ton, pri­or to pen­ning a deal with Southamp­ton.

Since arriv­ing, the 18-year-old mid­field­er has made five appear­ance for the under-21s in the Pre­mier League 2 and is supris­ing staff with one thing.

Joe O’Brien-Whitmarsh suprising Southampton coaches

O’Brien-Whitmarsh has net­ted twice in his last two games and is mak­ing a real impres­sion at Sta­ple­wood.

Though, accord­ing to Dai­ly Echo jour­nal­ist Alfie House, it’s his pace that is supris­ing a lot of the coach­ing staff.

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

O’Brien-Whitmarsh admit­ted that those com­ments came as a suprise to him, too: “My old­er broth­er mocks me about it as he’s a bit quick­er but I will take that as a com­pli­ment.

“I prob­a­bly run with the ball quick­er than I do with­out! That’s good to hear, though.” 

Joe O’Brien-Whitmarsh ready for Southampton debut

Whilst the young mid­field­er is only 18, he has already had a taste of first team foot­ball.

O’Brien-Whitmarsh, who has been capped at youth lev­el by Ire­land, made 27 senior appear­ances for Cork City before arriv­ing on the south coast.

Dur­ing that time, he evn­inced his capa­bil­i­ty to sniff out chances and score from mid­field, net­ting four times.

Should he con­tin­ue to impress in Southampton’s reserve side, a senior debut may not be too far away as Mar­tin has shown a will­ing­ness to pro­mote play­ers from the acad­e­my.

Samuel Amo-Ameyaw and Tyler Dib­ling have both been giv­en opprunitues off the bench this term and it seems anoth­er Sta­ple­wood prospect may be edg­ing clos­er to the first team.

Saints have a bright future ahead of them, with sev­er­al promis­ing youngters mak­ing a real name for them­selves.

It’s just a case of allow­ing them to flour­ish at the right time and not rush­ing their devel­op­ment.

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