CALLUM Slattery highlighted James Ward-Prowse as his Saints role model.

Slattery joined the academy aged eight and made his debut in the 2-2 FA Cup third round draw with Derby on Saturday.

Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl partnered the midfielder with Ward-Prowse in the middle of the pitch, which was ideal for him as is keen to follow in his teammate’s footsteps.

“Prowsey is a great lad and to have him next to me was really helpful,” Slattery revealed.

“The chats we had before the game and the advice he gave me made me feel really at ease. We had chats about not being afraid, keeping it simple and just playing your game were really helpful.

“Prowsey has been in the first team for a while now and he is the one who showed everyone that they can do it. He came into the first team squad at 16 and has stayed there ever since. He is a prime example of what the club is all about.”

Daily Echo:

James Ward-Prowse

In recent weeks, Hasenhuttl has shown a willingness to delve into Saints’ academy and pick out any gems he can polish.
Marcus Barnes, Kayne Ramsay and Tyreke Johnson have all made their debut since the Austrian took charge last month.

This is either a message to the board that new senior players are needed or that he is genuinely impressed with what he’s seen in the youth ranks.

But for Slattery, he believes Hasenhuttl’s faith shows the academy is alive and well.

The 19-year-old added: “That’s what the club is all about.

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Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl

“It’s always given young players a chance and you could see that against Derby with the number of players on the bench and me getting my start.

“We all have to keep working hard in training and keep pushing. The confidence he [Hasenhuttl] gives us is great for us young boys.

“The way he deals with us in training, the advice he gives us, and it’s been great to have been involved with all of it.

“With the players that have come through, you are always hungry to make your debut and kick on and show the manager what you can do.

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Callum Slattery surrounded by Derby players

“Getting a debut is the start of that.”

Slattery revealed that pulling on a Saints first team shirt for the first time is something that the academy graduates are always dreaming about.

“It’s a really special moment for me and some of the other lads,” he added.

“To make my debut is all that I’ve wanted since being at the club from the age of eight.”