Youth football expert overjoyed by 'fantastic' Nico Lawrence after Southampton squad promotion

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 a long and rich tradition of bringing youth players through their academy into the first team and the trend is not likely to stop.

The Saints played their third-round Carabao Cup tie at home to Sheffield Wednesday on Wednesday (9 November) and went on to win via penalties against the League One outfit.

Among the substitutes, that night was 18-year-old Nico Lawrence who began his career in football via the Kinetic Academy in South London.

The foundation’s founder, Harry Hudson, was overjoyed to see the youngster involved in the senior setup less than a year after he joined the club’s Under-18s side.

“I’m really proud of Nico,” Hudson told The Football Wonderkids. “He’s been at Southampton less than a year and coming through grassroots to that level, to make the bench is fantastic.

“Nico’s got all the attributes, he’s big, strong and good on the ball. It’s just a case now of him biding his time and hopefully impressing the new manager when he starts.

“Hopefully this is the first of many opportunities for him and maybe he can get himself in and amongst the first team and make an impact.

“It’s all credit to him and to the club for recognising his talent.”

16-year-old Jimmy Morgan and 18-year-old Lewis Payne were also among the substitutes while fellow Kinetic Academy graduate Joe Aribo started for the Saints.

In other Southampton news, a teenager from Tottenham Hotspur has signed a scholarship deal at St Mary’s after the club made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.