Southampton Academy Manager Matt Hale was touched by the efforts of the local county teams who rallied round 13-year-old goalkeeper Jack Bycroft who broke his leg in Monday’s opening the game.
Hale hopes young Jack will return to the Milk Cup with Southampton this time next year.
Hale said: “He’s 13 still, so he’s one of the young ones.
“Hopefully he can come here again next year. There’s a chance this won’t be the end of his Milk Cup experience.
“He’s in the best possible place. He’s comfortable now and his mum and dad are with him.
“Everyone was very down on Monday despite the positive result. Everyone was thinking of Jack obviously but this might not be Jack’s last Milk Cup.
“The care that he has received both from our medic and staff, plus the ambulance staff has been fantastic.
“The support from the people at the Lodge Hotel from different Irish teams in particular shows what people involved in this tournament are about.
“County teams have come up and say they hope we do something here, for Jack. That shows the passion the people have and we all appreciate the support they’ve offered.
“There has been a lot of support from the Milk Cup, taking staff to the hospital and back. They’ve bent over backwards to help out.”
The Saints marched on without young Jack, beating Londonderry 2-1 at Anderson Park on Tuesday. They’ve now won both their opening games.