Southampton will be putting plans together for next season in the hope that 2021/22 proves more positive overall than 2020/21.
A bright start to this campaign has been cancelled out by a hefty injury list and poor form that have seen Saints slip from the top-six to the bottom six in next to no time.
It will be a big summer for the club in terms of showing faith in the current manager Ralph Hasenhuttl and the project he is undertaking, although league safety is still yet to be confirmed and an FA Cup Semi-Final is still to be played.
Looking at recent coaching appointments by the club suggests that proactive steps are being made right now to help change the club’s course into the future.
Crocker building the foundations at Southampton
A big signal of intent from Saints was the appointment of Matt Crocker, who re-joined the club after a successful spell working with the FA. He oversaw the emergence of the likes of Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Luke Shaw previously at Saints and then enjoyed a time of tournament wins in the lower age groups of the national setup.
He has taken the title of Director of Football Operations at St Mary’s now and appears to be putting similar pieces in place to mirror what he built with the FA.
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Training Ground Guru – providing detailed information on staff movements in academy and senior football in England – have written about recent appointments at Saints that signal a change in direction.
Their article from yesterday confirms that former England in-possession coach Mikey Harris has been brought in to take the title of Under-18s individual coach. This means he will be providing individual support to players in the Under-18s team to aid their development.
Lee Skyrme was also brought in from the FA recently and will take the same job title but with the Saints B team – both appointments will be based on trying to help academy players reach their full potential and enabling them to push into the first-team picture.
A final piece from Training Ground Guru detailed Sam Stanton’s arrival at the club from Bristol City. He will be head of the “Player Insights” team who will help provide a statistical basis for scouting and recruitment at all levels.
This season has not played out how those at the club would have liked. As mentioned before, the first-team’s results have fallen away and results at academy level have not been good, although development is more important than winning games in youth football.
However, there are certainly moves being made behind the scenes that suggest Saints could come back strongly in every way in the next two or three years.