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HUGHTON'S PRAISE FOR SOUTHAMPTON MODEL

28 October 2017

Paul Hazlewood
Albion manager Chris Hughton.

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton praised tomorrow’s opponents, Southampton for their ability to maintain success in the Premier League while introducing the next generation of footballers from their academy system.

The Saints have gained a reputation for producing a number of top-flight players over the years, including the likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Adam Lallana, and Hughton commended their work at academy level.

He said, “As a club, they’ve been a great example with the progress that they’ve made in recent years.

“They play an exciting brand of football, but they’ve had the balance between bringing young players through and maintaining their position in the league.

“They’ve got a wonderful model, and one thing that home supporters really enjoying seeing are players that come through the system to play in their first team.

“It’s getting harder, because of the pressures on instant success and bringing players in, but Southampton’s model has served them very well in recent years.”

With both clubs turning down offers for some of their prized assets in recent seasons, Hughton also applauded the Saints for showing the same desire that Tony Bloom has done with his promotion-winning playing squad.

“Southampton were in a position where they might possibly have lost [Virgil] Van Dijk, but they held firm and that speaks volumes about where they are at this particular moment.

“A couple of years ago, that might not have been the case. So credit to Southampton, but it will always be very difficult to keep hold of the best players.

“Our chairman has shown his desire to keep our best players here in recent windows, and any speculation regarding our players is always nice.

“If there’s speculation, it means that they’re doing well, and I certainly want as many of our players to do well as possible.”

After completing the final game of his three-game suspension last week, Tomer Hemed is available for selection again, and Hughton assessed the striker’s sharpness ahead of Sunday’s showdown at the Amex.

“He’s been very good and what did help was the international break in-between that [suspension], where he played two games.

“As regards to his level, he’s not a player that’s been out for a four-week period, he’s been training and had two games in-between.

“He started the season well, but at the moment, with the competition that we have, him and everybody else has to be on their game.

“He’s looked very sharp in training. For him, it will be about getting back to the levels of where he was when he last played for us.”


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