Southampton supporters in the Transfer Tavern are very much looking forward to the 2018/19 Premier League season, what with their team seeking to improve upon their disappointing 17th place finish last term.
The Saints struggled throughout the campaign and were languishing in relegation trouble for the vast majority of the season, eventually resulting in Mauricio Pellegrino’s sacking back in March. Ex-Stoke City boss Mark Hughes came in with the brief of keeping the club in the top-flight, and he did just that by leading the South Coast outfit to a 17th place finish, three points clear of the bottom three.
As such, there are many hopeful Southampton fans up and down the country, several of whom are wondering who could be the next star to break out from the club’s academy, and potentially follow in the footsteps of Theo Walcott and become a Premier League star.
And based on his efforts for the club’s Under-18 side in recent times, 18-year-old starlet Harlem Hale could well be the man to do just that.
Ultimately, 29-year-old Walcott has embarked upon a fine career at senior level having come up through the ranks at St Mary’s, with the forward impressing so much in the Saints first team as a youngster that Arsenal spent £12 million on him back in 2006.
And Walcott, now of Everton, has since gone on to play 284 times in the Premier League and earn 47 England caps to underline his meteoric rise following his Southampton education, with early indications suggesting that fellow attacker Hale could follow in his footsteps.
The 18-year-old actually began his youth career at Chelsea before making the move to St Mary’s a few years ago, for whom he has since gone from strength to strength to excel for the Saints’ Under-18 side.
And he produced his best season to date last time round in netting four goals and laying on four assists for the South Coast outfit in their run to third place in the South division of the Under-18 Premier League, with his tally of four assists more than any other Southampton player.
In fact, Hale impressed so much that he earned four appearances for the club’s development squad last term to suggest that he is slowly but surely making his way up through the ranks, and as such could be set for his senior Saints debut in the not-too-distant future.
And given how quickly it took Walcott to make a name for himself, and how much talent and potential 18-year-old Hale clearly has, the attacker could well follow in the footsteps of the Southampton graduate by going on to become a Premier League star in the years to come.
Southampton fans… what do you think? Let us know!