Name: Will Smallbone
Date of Birth: 21 February 2000
Position: Midfielder (Attacking, Central, Defensive)/ Forward (Winger, Centre-forward)
Will Smallbone – his career so far
Will Smallbone is definitely a very well-known figure at Southampton despite only being a 20-year-old old who’s still at the very start of his career. The youngster joined the Saints when he was only eight years old after being spotted playing for his local side. His potential was clearly visible right from the bat and it didn’t really take long for Smallbone to transition that skill and talent to the St. Mary’s Stadium.
The young lad quickly progressed through the academy and into the development squads, soon solidifying himself as a key figure during both his U18 and U23 ventures at the club. Of course, that would eventually lead to him even registering a couple of senior appearances along the way too.
As a whole, Smallbone tallied a total of 52 games for the U18 squad, even scoring six goals and assisting further seven on the side as well. But then he was moved up the footballing ladder and into the U23 team, where he is currently registered as well.
So far, he’s been able to muster a total of 37 appearances, scoring seven goals and assisting five under his belt in the process too. Needless to say, both stints were quite successful for the young midfielder and they also meant he was rewarded both with new contracts and chances with the first-team.
First, he penned his first professional contract in February 2017 and would then go on to extend it in December 2018. His current deal runs until 2021 but the 20-year-old is still expected to stay at the club beyond that initial date that’s been previously set.
All of the games he’s played for the seniors have arrived in the 2019/20 campaign, with Smallbone given his debut in the FA Cup clash against Huddersfield where he netted his first and only goal for the first-team so far.
Since then, he’s also appeared twice in the Premier League, starting both in the victory against Aston Villa and the defeat against West Ham United.
By all accounts, the now 20-year-old looks set to lead the Saints of the future sooner rather than later.
Even though it’s been a while since Smallbone’s last contract extension, he is very much in the plans for the future of the club. In some of the more recent Southampton news, their boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has proclaimed that the youngster will go on to have a big career as one of the Saints and that is a great sign for the 20-year-old lad.
With that in mind, and probably because of the current state of the footballing world as a whole, there aren’t any transfer rumours or transfer news linking him with a move away from the St. Mary’s Stadium at the moment.
By all accounts, his immediate future looks directly tied with Southampton and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. Of course, the market is always unpredictable but it’s still pretty safe to say the club’s preference could very well be keeping Smallbone for as long as they can.
Smallbone is a highly technical midfielder who can boast with excellent close control and the ability to repel the opposition’s challenges and glide past his markers with ease. But he can also be deployed across the midfield area, both in advanced and deeper positions when necessary.
That makes him a great box-to-box presence that will regularly drop to help out the build-up play by progressing the ball forward either through passing it or via his runs, and can then be the connection between the middle and the final third of the pitch as well.
But it is in the final third and around the box where his vision, spatial awareness to exploit free pockets of space and a good eye for a pass are best utilised. Smallbone is no stranger to setting his teammates up with a golden ball and can also be a direct threat from distance himself.
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