Valery praises Academy after signing new deal

By SFC Media Thu 14 Mar First team
Photo by Matt Watson | Yan Valery

Southampton full-back Yan Valery has spoken of the importance of the club's Academy in his development after signing a new, long-term contract at St Mary's.

The 20-year-old has put pen to paper on a deal that runs until 2023, capping a whirlwind few months in which he has burst onto the scene at first-team level, nailing down a regular spot on the right-hand-side and scoring in each of the team's past two games, against Manchester United and Tottenham.

That side of Valery's progression has been very much in the public eye, but it is also an extension of his development throughout previous years in the Academy, which he joined at the age of 16 from French club Rennes.

i knew it was one of the best academies in the country and i have seen that is actually true.

yan valery
southampton full-back

The young Frenchman believes what he was taught in the club's youth set-up, both in terms of lessons in football and life, have helped prepare him to the point where he was ready to grasp his opportunity at senior level.

"I've learned a lot outside of football as well as on the pitch," he said. "I have had some great coaches – Radhi Jaïdi has helped me a lot, because at the start I was not speaking English. He could translate to me and help me.

"After, I had also Craig Fleming, who is really important for me as well. Football-wise he gave me a lot of advice and teaches me lots of things, but as well when I had some problems outside of football or I was a little bit down he was always there to talk to. He was really there for me. Martin Hunter as well.

"I had really good coaches when I was in the Academy, and I learned a lot of things. It's a good club, because they prepare you. You have to be more professional. You watch your games, you have got a website where you can see your training sessions, every few months you go for a meeting with the coaches who tell you what you have to improve, so it was really good.

"That's as well why I signed here when I was younger, because I knew it was one of the best academies in the country and I have seen that is actually true because you have everything to be the best. If you want to work hard and you want to be the best you have everything to help you."

Since making his debut in the League Cup tie at Leicester last November, Valery has progressed at a rapid pace, becoming a regular starter under Ralph Hasenhüttl, and grabbing headlines with his thunderous, long-range strike at Old Trafford before his crucial equaliser in the 2-1 win over Spurs last week.

But, despite those highs, it is some of the lower moments that Valery finds most value in reflecting on when looking back on the past few months.

"I have had more ups than downs, but I had the red card against Leicester," he said, referencing the 2-1 Premier League victory at King Power Stadium in January.

Yan Valery with Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl

"Against Cardiff at half-time the coach took me off, so I had some ups and downs and all of them I have learned from.

"Whether it was a good thing or a bad thing that happened, I always learn, and I think it helped me a lot as well.

"You can see now on the pitch every game I am a little bit more confident and I am thankful for the coach and also the other players, because they have helped me a lot.

"It's a really good club. The environment you feel is like a family and I think it's really helpful for young players to be in this type of club when you are starting to play a first-team level."

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