Adkins hails Shaw contribution
Nigel Adkins hailed the maturity of teenage full-back Luke Shaw following his vital contribution to Southampton's 2-2 draw at Chelsea.
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Shaw, who does not turn 18 until July, left Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta in his wake as he charged 50-metres run down the left wing before crossing for Jason Puncheon to volley the equaliser.
Puncheon took the immediate plaudits for a brilliant finish as Southampton proved how quickly they have adapted to the demands of the Barclays Premier League.
But once the dust had settled at Stamford Bridge, Adkins reflected on the giant strides Shaw has taken this campaign.
"You talk about maturity and he demonstrated it (against Chelsea). It was a great surging run. We keep encouraging him," Adkins said.
"We want players to pass the football and we want our full-backs to bomb on and in Luke Shaw and Nathaniel Clyne, two Englishmen, we are very pleased.
"They have a long, long way to go in their careers. Luke Shaw is 17 years of age. He has come through our system. We are endeavouring to get as many as we can through."
Southampton's draw at Stamford Bridge came less than a fortnight after they had been beaten 5-1 by Chelsea in the FA Cup - two games which Adkins views as a microcosm of Saints' season.
Having taken time to adapt to the rigours of the Premier League, the Southampton head to Everton on Monday three points clear of the relegation zone and looking up not down.
"In our first 10 games we only picked up four points but we have improved, the players have grown in confidence and we have found ways to pick up points," Adkins said.
"There is a continual growing belief, a maturity about the players. They are accustomed to playing in this division now and we are in a position where we are looking to pick points up.
"We were beaten 5-1 by Chelsea but we have demonstrated we can learn quickly."
For Chelsea, the draw represented a wasted opportunity both for the team and for interim manager Rafael Benitez just hours after Pep Guardiola revealed he was taking charge of Bayern Munich.
Chelsea have now drawn one and lost two of their last three home matches and the dissent towards Benitez was audible on the final whistle.