Saints midfielder Lloyd Isgrove is out to show his promise in pre-season once again.
Isgrove, who returned for his pre-season testing on Thursday, featured heavily last summer ahead of the 2014/15 campaign as Ronald Koeman assessed his squad for the first time since his arrival at St Mary’s.
22-year-old Isgrove was handed his first Premier League start on the back of his impressive pre-season displays when Saints travelled to Liverpool on the opening day of the campaign last time around.
That experience, says Isgrove, is something he wants to have on a more regular basis with the club during 2015/16: “That was one of the best days of my life.
“To have that again this season and hopefully play a lot more games is something I’m really striving to do.
“I also made a few cup appearances and I thought I dealt with that well, so hopefully this season I can play more Premier League games for the club.
“We obviously have Europe this year too so there will be a few more games and hopefully there will be more opportunities for me and the other young lads.
“Last pre-season the manager had just come in and everyone wanted to impress,” added Isgrove, who scored in a 1-0 win against AFC Bournemouth. “I played in every pre-season game and did quite well, so I’m hoping to do the same again and take that into the season.
“Every pre-season is massive. I’m just hoping I can push on and really go from there this season.”
Isgrove spent the last two months of the season on loan at Championship side Sheffield Wednesday, featuring in every game for the Owls during his time with the club.
“I enjoyed it very much,” Isgrove told youtube.com/southamptonfc. “I started almost every game and it was a great experience to be playing in the Championship every week.
“Everyone was good to me there, but it was nice to come back and see the boys at the end of the season after they did so well.”
The winger is also relishing the challenge of enhanced competition in the Saints squad, with Koeman needing everyone available to deal with the pressures of European football.
“I think the squad will be bigger this season,” said Isgrove. “We didn’t have the biggest squad last season but we did quite well with injuries.
“It’s all about competition for places. You don’t want to be walking into the team. If there’s good competition it makes you train harder and play better.”