Southampton booked their place in the last-16 of the EFL Cup with a win on penalties against Sheffield United on Tuesday evening.
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl made nine changes to his side from the Premier League draw with Manchester City and saw his players eventually get over the line after a superior shootout.
Chances were handed out to some fringe players and some members of the squad made more of an impression than others, but two big moments came for Ibrahima Diallo and Mohammed Salisu during the 90 minutes.
Diallo netted his first goal in senior football with a clever flicked header in the first-half and Salisu gave his side the lead in the second period with a nicely controlled shot following a corner routine – a goal that marked his first strike in England and just his second in senior football.
Southampton’s future stars take another big step
What is important for Ralph Hasenhuttl to see is that his team can still win games when the starting 11 is made up young players. A lot of his squad space is taken up by youthful talent with potential and these wins will be providing players like Diallo and Salisu with valuable experience.
Investing in potential is the Saints way but it would not be ideal for the club or players if they were being fed into a dysfunctional team unit.
Careers can easily be ruined by pushing a youngster into the limelight too soon or at a desperate time but it seems things are certainly on the up for the club right now in terms of youth production.
Nathan Tella is just one of the names to have come from the academy ranks in recent times and he provided the assist for Salisu on Tuesday night, whilst other young talent that has been signed from other clubs has given the squad a competitive look for this campaign.