Josh Sims described his first 90 minutes since returning from injury as another positive step on his journey back to full fitness and match sharpness.
The winger featured in Southampton Under-23s' Premier League 2 clash with Aston Villa on Monday night, following on from his comeback last month.
Sims, who suffered a long-term knee injury in May, said: "I've been waiting a bit of time now for the first 90. I played 45 against Reading just before Christmas, but, with the Christmas break and that, I've not really had a chance to play 90.
"For me, it was good to finally get it, and get the fitness back, although it was disappointing about the result."
josh simsit's a case of getting game time, then hopefully i can push back into the first-team properly.
The 20-year-old added: "It's hard to get the sharpness back unless you're playing games and for me it's been another step.
"You get back into training and you feel like you're sharp and getting your touch back, but then when you get into a match scenario it's completely different. The only way to get back is by getting matches under your belt."
Sims made a very brief appearance from the bench in the first-team's 2-2 draw at Watford last weekend, while he was an unused substitute in the FA Cup win at Fulham seven days earlier, and he has taken encouragement from being back involved at that level.
"It's been a long time since I played my last Premier League match, so it was nice to be back out there," he said.
"It was only a short period of time, but just to be back on the bench and experience it and get back out on the pitch for the first team was brilliant for me. Because it was such a long time and such a long wait, it made it a bit more sweet.
"It's obviously a hard one for me, because I need to get the game time in. That's the only way I'm going to get back to full fitness and sharpness.
"So it's a case of getting the game time in now, then hopefully towards the end of the season I can push back into the first-team properly and get some more minutes."