Shea Charles says he’s aiming to harness the title chasing mentality he inherited in City’s Academy during Southampton’s Play Off quest.

After finishing fourth in the regular Championship season, Russell Martin’s side will lock horns with West Brom over two legs for a place in Wembley’s final.

Before moving to the south coast permanently last summer, the combative midfielder excellently progressed through our youth system after joining our Under-9s.

During his time with the Club, he lifted back-to-back Premier League 2 titles in 2022 and 2023 – captaining Brian Barry-Murphy’s EDS to the latter – and made his senior Northern Ireland bow before featuring for Pep Guardiola‘s side at the end of last term.

And Charles is looking to pull on his experience of fighting for honours to help Southampton make an immediate return to the Premier League.

“I think it’s important to have that title chasing feeling before you’re a first-team player in the Academy,” he explained.

“In the Under-18s season, [winning the title after] going down to the last game against United. Having that experience before being a proper first-team player really helps and it’s all quite similar.

“We have the fans behind us now, but it feels similar so it feels good. In the Championship, you can see how competitive it’s been.

“Just being able to play and almost be in an environment where you’re pushing for promotion and every game means something – that was really important for me to go and do that.”

Across the 2023/24 Championship campaign, Southampton averaged the highest percentage of possession across the division with 65.5%.

Martin’s men also scored 87 goals across their 46 outings – the third highest across the division.

For Charles, he believes the education he received at the City Football Academy perfectly prepared him for life at St Mary’s Stadium after making 41 appearances in red and white this term.  

He added: “The style of play [at Southampton] kind of suits me and how I like to play football. 

“I feel like me, the manager and the rest of the team we see football the same way. Possession based and a pressing style and that really attracted me.

“I think Brian, Pep and Russell all see [football] the same way. The football is very similar, but also different in some aspects. 

“The same idea of having the ball, having all the ball and controlling the game.

“I think doing that the whole way through the Academy and then bits with the first-team that automatically has helped me come into this environment.”