Kgaogelo Chauke had a perfect senior debut for Southampton.
After making the bench in the league against Liverpool and Leicester City, Chauke was named in the starting line up by coach Ralph Hasenhüttl for Southampton’s home cup clash against League One side Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday night.
The 18-year-old started in a more creative central midfield role alongside James Ward-Prowse and Ibrahima Diallo. He lasted 78 minutes before being substituted for Stuart Armstrong to end an impressive senior team debut at home.
Chauke has been on the rise in England since bursting into the scene in 2019 while playing for the reserve team in the English Premier League Two.
Shortly after turning 17 in 2020, the midfielder was offered a two-year deal at Southampton which saw him starting to spend the majority of the time with the first team under the guidance of Hasenhüttl who is said to be a big admirer of the Pretoria-born youngster.
Southampton started the cup tie on the front foot and it took 16 minutes for debutant Dan N’Lundulu to put the hosts ahead at St. Mary’s. The Saints searched for a second goal, but failed to put the ball past Matija Sarkic between the posts as they head the one goal going into the break.
In the second half Shrewsbury cleared a few attempts off the line to keep themselves in the encounter for the majority of the second half. With only a minute left on the clock, James Ward-Prowse scored a free kick from a long way out to ensure that the hosts progressed to face Arsenal in the fourth round of the competition.
Last year, the Thatcham Town product was called up to England’s U18 squad, but he is still illegible to play for South Africa at any level. He was named in coach David Notoane’s preliminary squad for the Tokyo Olympics, but it remains to be seen if the youngster will be roped in going to Japan in July.
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By Prince Sobayeni