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What should Southampton do with youngster starring out on loan?

Southampton's Jason McCarthy celebrates at the end

Jason McCarthy, named League One's player of the month for January and currently at Walsall, is out of contract the summer.

Southampton's Jason McCarthy celebrates at the endJason McCarthy celebrates Southampton winning the Premier League Cup in 2014

Southampton’s 21-year-old defender Jason McCarthy has been in fine form for his loan club recently but his future at St Mary's remains unclear.

McCarthy has caught the eye at League One Walsall, where he has played every minute of every league game this season, and was recently named the PFA Fans' Player of the Month for January off the back of scoring three goals from right-back.

However his contract at St Mary’s is up in the summer and it remains to be seen whether or not Southampton want to extend it.

McCarthy has played at right-back for Walsall, but centre-back is where he made most of his appearances in Southampton’s youth teams and should the club see that as his position long-term then it’s more likely they will try to keep him.

With Cedric Soares, Cuco Martina and the currently injured Jeremy Pied all at his disposal Claude Puel isn’t short of right-backs.

There are certainly opportunities for central defenders at St Mary's, but McCarthy undeniably faces a challenge to find a place in the first team.

The step up from League One to the Premier League is a big one though so the most likely outcome is probably that, despite Puel’s willingness to give youngsters a chance, McCarthy will be released as fellow loanee Dom Gape was earlier this season.

His exploits in the Midlands mean the man who previously captained Southampton’s under-21 side to a Premier League Cup triumph won’t be short of options whatever happens this summer.

Blackburn Rovers' Dean Rittenberg and Southampton's Jason McCarthy in actionMcCarthy has made a lone appearance for Southampton's first team

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