February 25, 2024

The teenage dynamo has been a star for the club’s academy side in recent seasons.

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Southampton have a rich history of producing and developing exciting young talents through their academy system over the years at Staplewood.

The likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, James Ward-Prowse, Luke Shaw, and Alan Shearer are just a few of the many talented gems to have been nurtured on the south coast.

Current first-team head coach Russell Martin is now tasked with bringing through the next wonderkid through the youth set-up and has given opportunities to the likes of Will Smallbone and Samuel Edozie this season.

Player

Market value (via Transfermarkt)

Jamal Musiala

£95.1m

Ben White

£47.6m

Luke Shaw

£36.3m

James Ward-Prowse

£32.8m

Tyrone Ming

£19m

Southampton’s most valuable former academy players

The Saints currently have an exciting crop of U21 players who could make a first-team breakthrough in the future and one of them is 17-year-old ace Tyler Dibling, who the Scottish boss could develop into the next Walcott at St. Mary’s.

How old was Walcott when he made his Southampton debut?

A record was broken when the English forward became the youngster player in the club’s history at the age of 16 years and 143 days against Wolves in 2005.

Walcott went on to score five goals in 23 first-team matches for the club in all competitions throughout the 2005/06 campaign and that led to a transfer to Arsenal at the end of the season.

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The former England international then racked up 108 goals and 80 assists in 397 outings for the Gunners before a spell with Everton, which then led to his return to the Saints in 2020 before his retirement earlier this year.

How many goals has Dibling scored for Southampton?

Dibling, who spent two months at Chelsea before returning to the Saints earlier this year, has scored 18 goals at U21 and U18 level combined for the Saints.

The 17-year-old gem, who was once hailed as one of the club’s “shining” youth prospects by ex-boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, made his first-team bow against Gillingham in the EFL Cup earlier this season.

This suggests that Martin has seen potential in the teenage ace and believes that the quality is there for him to contribute at senior level, albeit in a cameo at this stage in his career.

Dibling’s impressive form at U21 level so far this term indicates that the scope is there for him to develop into an exciting attacking option for the club if he can translate his performances to the first-team.

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The England U18 international, who predominantly plays out wide on the right, has racked up three goals and two assists in six Premier League 2 appearances.

There is no guarantee that Dibling will be able to score and assist goals at a similar rate for Martin’s team but there was no guarantee that Walcott would do the same when he made his emergence in 2005.

Southampton’s manager may have to be bold and unleash the 17-year-old wizard at Championship level over the coming weeks and months to see if he is ready to make the step up.

If Dibling can rise to that challenge then he could emerge as Walcott 2.0 for the Saints as another goalscoring right winger from the academy making an impact as a teenager.

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