One to watch: Southampton's Harley Willard scores brace for under-18s

A young Southampton player impressed for the under-18s this weekend.

Southampton youngster Harley Willard scored a brace for the Saints’ under-18 side as they defeated their Newcastle United counterparts 2-1 on Saturday.

Willard signed his first professional contract at St Mary’s on his 17th birthday back in September 2014 and he could ultimately become another academy graduate to make a name for himself in the Southampton first-team.

Willard is a 17-year-old attacking midfielder-cum-winger who has represented Scotland’s under-18 side. He has also turned out five times for the Saints’ under-21 side this season although he is yet to get on the score-sheet.

Against Newcastle this weekend, the teenager scored either side of half-time to ensure Southampton’s young guns had the perfect start to their Barclay’s Under-18 Premier League play-offs.

The win was a huge boost following the young side’s 3-0 defeat to Fulham in their previous outing, and Willard may be hoping his match-winning contribution caught the eye of first-team manager Ronald Koeman.

The Dutchman has shown he is not afraid to give youth a chance, but at just 17 and with plenty of attacking players ahead of him in the Southampton pecking order, Willard would be wise to focus on under-18 and under-21 matters for a while longer.

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