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'They have produced the most players'

Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gareth Bale, Calum Chambers, Adam Lallana… the list goes on.

Every time we face Southampton - and that’s a lot this season - the roll call of their homegrown stars gets an airing. And it makes for impressive reading.

Arsene Wenger knows Southampton’s manager well - Claude Puel was his player at Monaco - and he ran the rule over our cup opponents at his pre-match press conference:

on Southampton's EFL Cup win at Liverpool…They are on a high. They produced a fantastic performance at Liverpool, so overall that makes the game even more interesting and more difficult as well. They are not short of confidence at the moment and will certainly have a big support, but it’s an FA Cup game and we want to qualify.

on Southampton's progress over recent seasons…They are certainly a football club who have done one of the best jobs in producing young players, on keeping the quality high despite losing big players. Overall, I think they’ve done a remarkable job, because they were punished quite harshly because they went down to League One, but they came up and since they’ve produced consistent results and quality games. I think it is a club where you can say ‘really well done’ because what they’ve done is remarkable.

on if Southampton are an established top-10 side…I think they have the quality to do that. When you look they produced Walcott, Bale, Oxlade-Chamberlain, plus all the players that have left them since. Last year they lost Wanyama, they lost Mane, and people thought they would suffer this year. Again, they have really top quality - they lost Lallana, they lost many top players. Overall what they have managed to do is absolutely remarkable. I think it’s the club in England that has produced and developed the most players in the last 10 years and that’s absolutely remarkable.

 

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