With Southampton Academy alumni Jake Hesketh and Harrison Reed both on the scoresheet yesterday against Schalke 04 in the club's first pre-season outing, we took the opportunity back at Staplewood to catch up with Academy Manager Matt Hale about the progress of Saints' young graduates.
Currently, eleven academy products are working hard on a pre-season trip in China, under the watchful eye of manager Mark Hughes and his first-team staff, and Hale was delighted that so many youngsters have been afforded their opportunity in the spotlight.
"Pleasing not just for me, but for all the academy staff here," he began. "Obviously they've put a lot of effort into seeing the boys progress.
"We've got eleven on tour in China and nine who got on the pitch against Schalke yesterday so really pleasing to see.
"The staff were watching intently yesterday and delighted so many started or got on the pitch at some point.
"It shows the younger players at the club what can be achieved. Those who are currently in the 18s and 23s, there's a fantastic opportunity here to develop.
"The young players over in China have an opportunity to impress and the players working hard here have the aspiration to be there.
"It shows that they're never too far away, it resembles what we stand for here in terms of development. And a great example for the younger boys of what can be achieved.
"It's brilliant to see the younger lads scoring against Schalke, pleased for them particularly.
"Harrison [Reed] had a great loan spell last year and has come back fighting to be in the manager's plans. He's put his name on the scoresheet yesterday and that'll put him in the manager's thoughts for the future."