Southampton have a proud tradition of developing British footballing talent and Bath's Beechen Cliff pupil Jago Thompson-Roberts is hoping to emulate Gareth Bale and Co after signing a two-year academy contract.
Thompson-Roberts, a defender who turns 13 in January, has gained a solid grounding in the game with Bath & Wiltshire Boys, Warminster Highbury and Bath City Youth and is described as a level-headed, committed individual who will always go the extra mile in pursuit of his goals...
Jago says: “It is going really well at Southampton. The training feels more personal and we have individual targets All of the matches are a challenge. For example, Chelsea and a lot of the London sides are massive and all about power and pace, but then you might come up against a team that is small and skillful, like us, so you have to be adaptable.
The training really pushes you to be the best you can be. I have been going to the park on my own and getting as many balls as I can from the house to practice long-range passing and work my touch. The way we play links in with Bath & Wiltshire Boys (BWB). The philosophy of the district team is developing players who are good technically and tactically. I have also been on a few tours with them and learned a lot about resilience and aspiration. The activities we do help us to bond as a team and develop as a person as well as a footballer.
I’ve always had a good reading of the game and like playing at the back. In terms of players I look up to, it’s inspiring to see how Sergio Ramos puts his body on the line and I also admire Virgil van Dijk and the centre backs at Southampton having watched them live. I also think Steven Gerrard is a class act and I love his passing ability. I have looked up to him and read his autobiography and was struck by his quality and the amount he practised as a child.”
Main achievements: 2016 Signs two-year contract with Southampton, wins BWB’s prestigious Ivor Powell Trophy for 2015-16; 2014 Wiltshire Quad Kids Athletics champion, helps BWB reach semi-finals at Gothia World Youth Cup in Sweden; 2013 Joins Bath City and plays up an age group 2012 Earns a place with the BWB district squad at eight and captains his age group