Southampton v Sunderland at St Mary's Stadium: LIVE

24 August 2013 04:40
Southampton V Sunderland - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Youth policy important - Pochettino

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino believes the club's policy of promoting players from the youth system is just as vital as the heavy investment in the squad.

The Argentinian has added Dejan Lovren, Victor Wanyama and Dani Osvaldo to his squad in recent months, running up a total transfer outlay of around B#36million.

But despite breaking the club's transfer record on two occasions this summer, after last year also splashing out on Gaston Ramirez and Jay Rodriguez, Saints fielded four products of their youth academy in Saturday's 1-0 win at West Brom.

Calum Chambers, Luke Shaw, James Ward-Prowse and Adam Lallana all started, as did Morgan Schneiderlin, who joined the south coast club as an 18-year-old.

Pochettino is keen to keep blooding such youngsters from the same academy that has produced the likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in recent times.

"I'm very happy with all the players who have come through the academy, we are very pleased about what we are doing in that sense," he said ahead of Saturday's game at home to Sunderland.

"It speaks volumes of the good job that [chairman] Nicola Cortese has been doing in terms of promoting the academy going up.

"I think you need a good mix between youth players and older, more experienced players. If you do have that equilibrium then it is going to bring a good energy to the club.

"It is tough because we have 22 to 23 players who are looking at getting in to the side."

However, while he is happy to utilise his fledglings, Pochettino is also aware that he has to nurture their talents in the coming years.

"We have to be careful with young players," he added.

"We need to be patient with them and gauge how much they can give and what their potential can be for the club.

"But it is also true that the academy has not started recently, there has been a solid project there for four or five years and we just want to carry on that tradition."

Osvaldo is in contention to play some part against the Black Cats.

Italy international Osvaldo became Saints' club-record signing when he joined from Roma earlier in the week and the forward is likely to be involved.

Chambers could retain his place with Nathaniel Clyne short of fitness following a pre-season injury.

Defiant Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio has struck back at critics quick to question his Stadium of Light revolution in the wake of his side's disappointing start to their new Barclays Premier League campaign.

The Black Cats head to Southampton anxious to claim their first points of the new campaign after falling to Pajtim Kasami's second-half header in their opener against Fulham last week.

Di Canio knows he has yet to convince some after his wholesale summer changes - including an entire team-full of new signings, a room-key lottery on away trips and bans on everything from Marmite to drinks with ice cubes.

Di Canio insisted: "I don't mind having people against me because it is very satisfying when you win at the end and prove them wrong.

"What is important is that you don't give up. Don't listen to the ones who keep putting the club down - they are like crows. Everyone should stay positive because we are going to have a very good season - I'm sure about that."

Di Canio completed his 11th new signing this week with the addition of Greek midfielder Charis Mavrias from Panathinaikos, although he is unlikely to feature in the Italian's plans to face the Saints.

Craig Gardner's return from suspension gives Di Canio defensive options but he is likely to keep faith in last week's line-up, with Ondrej Celustka impressing at right-back and Valentin Roberge forgiven for the blunder that led to Fulham's winning goal.

Striker Steven Fletcher is still some weeks away from a first-team return but continues to make good progress with his ankle injury, while Wes Brown is nearing full fitness but will not be rushed back from his knee problem.

Jozy Altidore will get another chance to impress up front after an encouraging debut.

Source: DSG