Youth can elevate Saints - Chambers
Calum Chambers hopes Southampton can capitalise on a nucleus of home-grown talents to mount a long-term challenge for Champions League football.
The 18-year-old defender is expected to maintain his right-back berth for Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Tottenham at St Mary's Stadium.
Nathaniel Clyne is still struggling with a hamstring problem, and if he fails a late fitness test then Chambers will continue at full-back.
Chambers graduated from Saints' academy at the same time as first-team peers Luke Shaw, James Ward-Prowse and Harrison Reed.
All four teenagers tasted Premier League action in Saints' 1-1 home draw with Manchester City on December 7.
Chambers believes manager Mauricio Pochettino's faith in youth can help Southampton make tangible top-flight progress, without having to rely simply on big-money imports.
And he sees no reason why Saints cannot eventually use those foundations to break into the all but ring-fenced Premier League top four.
"The academy has got such good coaching and grounding, anyone coming through it is brought up the Southampton way," Chambers said.
"Against Manchester City we had three people I've been with at the club since I was seven years old on the pitch with me at the same time.
"That's fantastic, it's what we'd dreamed of since I was young.
"To play in the Premier League is a dream come true, so to fulfil it is fantastic.
"It betters everything you think of to be honest.
"Playing in front of everyone and playing for the club I've wanted to since I was a young boy, it's a dream come true, there's no other way to describe that feeling.
"The manager believes in the young players and thankfully for us they are giving us opportunities.
"The gaffer's given me my opportunity to play in the Premier League and I can't thank him enough for that."
Southampton sit ninth in the Premier League table with six wins from 16 games in their first campaign under former Argentina defender Pochettino.
Hard-fought draws against Manchester City and Newcastle are the latest results to boost Southampton's confidence.
And Chambers has refused to limit the club's potential.
He said: "I think we're good enough to do it, and if we can play the way we can there's nothing stopping us.
"If we play the best we can we're better than most teams in the Premier League.
"And I think we can get the results we need."
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