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The Conveyor Belt: Jake Hesketh

After a decent twenty minute debut against a star studded Man Utd, Jake Hesketh was handed a surprise first start in one of the Premier League's least hospitable venues.

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The stage was set and the commentators were primed to say "you couldn't write a script like this" even though it's exactly the script they stowed away under their desk. Jake Hesketh, making his first start at the tender age of Eighteen, saw the ball flick off a Leicester defender and, 6 yards out, into his path.

Never mind the keeper was a ninety percent favourite to claim it, our newest saint had to fling his entire, not too sizeable, body at the ball. That he did. Unfortunately, all he got in return were some shoves from claret clad goons and his first professional yellow card.

From that moment on every touch from the youngster was greeted with boos, and he replied by steadily becoming more and more of a threat.

In last year's under 18 squad it was Josh Sims and Ryan Seager who took most of the plaudits. Sims was scoring and assisting for the England youth team all year and eventually helped them win the u17 eEuropeancup. While Seager just never stops scoring(Even as I type this he has netted against Leicester for the u21s... twice). However, every time I saw the kids play it was Jake Hesketh who looked the star man.

The powers that be at the club clearly agree and he was awarded the scholar of the year shortly after signing his first pro contract in May. James Ward-Prowse won the award the previous year and it will be Hesketh's job to force his way into the first team picture just like JWP.

This season he has made the step up to the U21s look comfortable. In 6 games he has an assist and a goal playing both in his usual spot behind the front man and sometimes a little deeper as one of the two central midfielders. His main attribute is impudent passing and its easy to see the influence of his beloved Iniesta in the way he moves on the ball.

Its a tenet of the Southampton way to play the youngsters in various positions and he has shown the usual tenacity in pressing that we expect from the kids. Despite his small frame he has proven he can handle himself in the middle of the park. This aspect of his game will be vital as he looks to make the step up. Crystal Palace's own "miniesta", Jonathan Williams, has struggled to get game time due to this aspect of the premier league.

Ten minutes after picking up his yellow, Hesketh had another loose ball come into view. This time he was heavy favourite and won the ball with aplomb. Unfortunately Will Keane, encouraged by the home fans, decided to put a stop to the Jake's increasing presence in the game. The match of the day pundits would later shrug the challenge off as a mere follow through. Given that first contact was made with Hesketh's soon to be dead leg, perhaps the follow through was in reference to how the Burnley defender then went on to clatter through the boy wonder with all his weight.

Clattenburg, obviously, missed the assault and Southampton were lucky not to concede from the ensuing break away.

So, the commentator's pre-written script had to shelved and Hesketh was left disconsolate on the bench. This was his chance to prove himself on the big stage and it was cruelly taken away from him.

Injuries have given Hesketh the chance to be included in the first team and he has obviously impressed in training since then. He may be gutted, but he should not be downhearted. This was a bonus early chance to prove himself and there will be many more opportunities in the future.

Ronald Koeman confirmed he has had a scan on his knee today and "Hopefully it will be okay in a short time".

All these words were just an excuse to bask in the glory of his goal in last year's FA youth cup.

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