sport

Chambers grateful for chance

Calum Chambers says Southampton's policy of giving youngsters a chance has served as an inspiration to academy stars.

A production line of talent at St Mary's which has already delivered the likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain continues to generate players of Premier League and international calibre.

A look at the current Saints squad shows that Chambers, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, James Ward-Prowse and Sam Gallagher have all stepped out of the youth set-up to become established first-team performers.

Chambers believes the emphasis being placed on the nurturing of home-grown talent helps to keep those striving for senior recognition on their toes - with his own game having been taken to another level by the faith shown in him by boss Mauricio Pochettino and a positional switch from central midfield to right-back.

The 19-year-old told The Guardian: "I thought it would help my career to take everything I'd learned in midfield - vision, first touch - and take it to right-back.

"It would help kick me on further, and the coaches supported me to adapt.

"I can't thank the manager enough for putting his faith in me and giving me the opportunity at the start of the season.

"I've seen players consistently come through the academy, and it has always served as an inspiration. It gives you the hope you can emulate them."

Chambers added on the effort put in by Southampton away from the glare of the Premier League spotlight: "Everything about this club is geared towards bringing players up and keeping them grounded, educating them well.

"The philosophy and coaching was the same even when Southampton were in League One. It's just the equipment and sports science that have been upgraded since those days, but standards have always been high.

"If you see someone thinking they are bigger than they are, then straight away everyone says, 'Stop, you have to keep your feet on the ground, you haven't made it yet'. The players self-police. The staff do it as well."