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Adkins ‘Delighted’ With Shaw Pledge

PUBLISHED

09:18 11th January 2013

Southampton manager Nigel Adkins expressed his happiness at hearing young defender Luke Shaw publicly commit his future to the Club.

The 17 year-old stated on Thursday morning that he has no intention of leaving Saints, despite media speculation over his future.

And that news was music to Adkins’ ears: “We’re delighted,” he said of the Club’s reaction to Shaw’s commitment. 

“Luke still isn’t 18 yet, but he’s in the team and doing ever so well. The pathway is there for him, so it’s really pleasing that he’s happy here.

“There’s been speculation about him, but he’s playing games of football and there is an opportunity to keep developing.

“He’s in the team and playing well, so he’s progressing and developing – that’s the important thing. He’s maturing all the time.”

Shaw was one of four youngsters promoted to the First Team last summer ahead of Southampton’s first top-flight campaign since 2004-05.

Another of that quartet, James Ward-Prowse, has also featured regularly and signed a five-year contract shortly after his 18th birthday last November.

And Adkins says the Club has a specific way of treating their young players to ensure they reach their full potential.

“The vision of the football club is to get youngsters through the system,” said the gaffer. 

“You have to surround someone with the right environment – which I believe we do here at Southampton – and the right culture with positive messages all the time. 

“We allow them to flourish and to make mistakes, we make sure they keep their feet grounded and that they don’t get beyond themselves.

“Luke is a young player so we’ve got to protect and look after him,” continued Nigel.

“He can be built up so much that he’d suddenly break down. He’s a young player that we want to improve. 

“I’m sure that there will be a stage when things aren’t quite going right for him, but that’s why we’ve got a great culture here at Southampton – so we can protect and support him. 

“We have to look after Luke so he keeps progressing, and progressing well.”

Many have drawn comparisons between Shaw and two other left-sided graduates of the Southampton academy in Wayne Bridge and Gareth Bale.

However, Adkins is keen for his current left-back to be treated as an individual rather than him being likened to any of his predecessors.

“Luke Shaw is Luke Shaw – and we’ve got to allow him to be Luke Shaw rather than tarnishing him as someone else,” insisted Nigel. 

“We’ve got to allow him to play his football, to progress and to improve. 

“He’s at a football club that loves him and cares for him, and he’s committed his long-term future because he knows this is a good place for his development. 

“He feels for the football club and the fans, and I’m sure the fans will support him over the coming years.”

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