Stewart Henderson has told Schoolboy star Theo Walcott that if he wants to be the best, dedication is what he needs!
Walcott became the youngest ever player to play in the reserves this evening when he came on as a second-half substitute in the 3-0 victory over Watford. He took the record off current third year scholar Andrew Surman who came on against as a substitute against Chelsea back in March 2002.
Surman was 15 years and 196 days when he made his second-string debut, but Walcott shaved three weeks off that benchmark tonight when he played the final 16 minutes for Henderson's side aged 15 years 175 days.
That has been the pinnacle of his short career so far at Saints, although he has also broken into the England under 17 side and hit five goals in four starts for Saints' Under 18 side.
But Henderson warned that despite that impressive start, Walcott still has a very long road ahead of him.
He explained: "Theo has got to keep working, he is still 15 and there is still a lot to do.
"He has got to keep working at his game, keep turning in consistent performances with the under 18s and as long as he is doing that I will give him every opportunity at this level."
It has been a case of so far so good and Henderson added that Walcott had earned his place in this evening's game.
He continued: "I played Theo in pre-season friendly games in the reserves and he has been a regular in the under 18s squad this season.
"On Saturday away at Aston Villa he was outstanding and he was on the bench tonight and got on because he thoroughly deserved to. It wasn't a case of beating any records it was what the boy merited.
"It may be for the present moment and the near future that he plays more of a cameo role and starts on the bench.
"But he is a good player for me to have on the bench because I think of him as my get out of jail card.
"If I am in trouble I feel that he is a player that I can put on the pitch and he can change things and win you games with his ability and obviously his pace and everything else that goes with that."