Saints Under-18 winger Stuart Wilkin is relishing the shift in focus to attacking in training this week as he aims to score in upcoming friendlies with Girona and RCD Espanyol.
After heavy work on defending in the first week of the side’s pre-season tour to Spain ahead of last Saturday’s loss to Villarreal, Wilkin is eager to impress at the Barcelona base for the second part of the trip – especially after missing the opportunity to do so in the Under-21s’ trip to north east through illness.
Assessing the U18s’ 2-0 defeat to last weekend’s opponents, the youngster told the club’s official YouTube channel: “We worked on our defending and it really showed in the game. I thought we were unlucky to lose and we could have put a couple of goals away ourselves.
“A change of atmosphere obviously helps to get us buzzing again. It’s a fresh week and a new start. We’re working on an attacking theme this week instead so hopefully we can bag a couple of goals on Wednesday.
“I’m so eager to get on the pitch and get some game-time in. I was ill and missed two games in Newcastle. I was disappointed not to be able to try and impress for the U21s then but now I’m here, I’ve had a good week of training and I’m ready to go for the next game.
“I want to get as many minutes under my belt as I can, have more of an attacking influence in the next two games and hopefully score a couple of goals.”
Wilkin believes he has the perfect foundations in which to impress under U18 coach Anthony Limbrick, who he’s worked with already for several consecutive years.
Stuart believes his constant improvement under his boss will continue as he strives to maintain his status at Southampton beyond his scholarship.
“I’ve worked with Ant since I was 14,” the wideman continued. “I’ve had him in the Under-14s, Under-15s, Under-16s and now for the U18s. We’re really close as we’ve been together for quite a few years now. He knows how I play and I know his style of coaching.
“I’ve progressed a lot under Ant. He’s helped me with my defending a lot more. I had the basics like the technical [aspect] but he’s helped me with my defending, which I lacked at the start, but now he’s drilling it into me and I’m getting it.
“Because he knows me so well I think he can keep pushing me to hopefully one day getting that professional contract and the next stage.”