Callum Slattery is not approaching his twilight years in football any means – but he knew the time was right to leave Southampton – as senior minutes are required.
Motherwell have signed the Southampton youth academy graduate on a three-year deal for an undisclosed fee. ‘Well manager Graham Alexander didn’t think he’d have him for Saturday’s final Premier Sports Cup group stage match against Annan Athletic, but Motherwell got the transfer over the line and Slattery made his debut from the bench.
There’s plenty of cinch Premiership connections in the changing room at English Premier League side Southampton. Slattery – who made five senior appearances for the St Mary’s club alongside loans at De Graafschap and Gillingham – asked former Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster for Scottish advice.
Slattery explained: “I have had chats with Fraser who played here for a while. That sums it up really – a lot of quality players have played in Scotland and I was attracted to it. Fraser was talking about the league. He told me about the Scottish league and that it isn’t as easy as some people may think it is.
“As a young player it will be a test and that is definitely what I need. I need to play football and I need to test myself. Players are playing first-team football a lot younger now. 22 is not young so I see it that I need to be playing first-team football and that is what I am here to do.”
It has been difficult for Slattery to play regularly at Southampton, due to the amount of international players ahead of him. But he has shone at youth level. Motherwell fended off interest from other clubs to sign Slattery and the midfielder has been attracted by the Fir Park club’s vision. After a hectic few days, Slattery is ready to show what he’s about.
He said: “I had James Ward-Prowse and Harrison Reed in front of me at Southampton. They have kicked on but I learned a lot off of them. I was a younger lad when Steven Davis was there at Southampton but I trained with him a few times and he is a great player.
“I learned a lot at Southampton, but I felt as though the time was right for me to move on. It all moved very quickly so it is good to get it over the line. I am here and it is good to be able to get going. I think the way Scottish football is going and the way it is watched is good. I am quite creative as a midfielder. I like to look forwards.
“I don’t like too many backwards or sideways passes. I want to get us up the pitch but as safely as possible. I had spoken to Graham for a while and the ideas that he had and the way he wants to build the team attracted me right away. It has been hectic but it has been going at 100 miles an hour. It is just good to be here now rather than prolonging in.”
NTOF now offers a YouTube channel featuring exclusive interviews, post-match discussion, in-depth debate, and much more – LIKE and SUBSCRIBE and don’t miss any of our videos.