Youth Football expert hails 'world-class' Southampton head of recruitment

We’re delighted to welcome the founder of Kinetic Academy Harry Hudson as our exclusive columnist. Each week the youth football expert will be giving his views on the biggest talking points on wonderkids across the UK…

Southampton have excelled in the transfer market in targeting young players and it all comes down to Joe Shields’ youth football knowledge.

That’s according to Kinetic Academy founder Harry Hudson who worked with Shields for his foundation and knows everything there is to know about the former Manchester City man.

He was recruited by the South Coast club on 8 July as the new head of recruitment for the senior team and made a number of big moves over the summer.

Romeo Lavia, Samuel Edozie, Gavin Bazunu and Juan Larios all joined from Shields’ former club City with Sekou Mara and Armel Bella-Kotchap further young additions butthe success of those signings don’t surprise Hudson.

“I think he must have been very heavily involved in a lot of their signings over the summer,” Hudson exclusively told The Football Wonderkids. “But they’re not expected to win every single game of football so they can give younger players more of a chance.

“It goes all the way back to Tino Livramento last year who was always a really talented Under-18, Under-23 player and it raised a few eyebrows for £5million but ultimately they did it and he’s probably worth £25-30million now.

“Joe’s skillset is being able to find really talented young players such as Jadon Sancho when City took him from Watford at 14, that’s what he has always known and he is world-class at finding that type of talent so bringing him in as your head of recruitment, you know he is looking at younger players rather than proven players.

“They would have known that going in and Joe would have known that he was going to be able to show that so it doesn’t surprise that he is already making waves with some of the signings he’s made because he’s outstanding at what he does.”

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side currently sit 14th in the Premier League despite many having them down as pre-season relegation favourites.

In other Southampton news, one of Kinetic’s graduates has signed at St Mary’s and Hudson knows how physically dominant he can be at his best.