Former Stoke City midfielder Danny Higginbotham has claimed that the Potters struggle to bring young players through because of their close proximity to other major clubs, citing tonight's League Cup opponents Southampton as a comparison.
While the Saints' closest elite club is Chelsea, around 70 miles away from St Mary's, the Britannia Stadium is less than 50 miles away from Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool.
Higginbotham is quoted by the Stoke Sentinel as saying: "Southampton have no local competition when signing new players, whereas Stoke have got around three or four clubs they have to compete with to sign just one player.
"When I was at Southampton in 2003, they had some amazing players coming through. They were all local because no other club was there to sniff around.
"Stoke have been unfortunate to miss out on some players in the past. Look at James Wilson at Manchester United. He's one of their hottest prospects, and he is from Stoke-on-Trent."
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