Holgate targets promotion

2023-24/Signings/Mason Holgate/20230825_MasonHolgate_033_cb27xl

Loan signing Mason Holgate has only one target in mind with Southampton: promotion.

The 26-year-old defender, who has more than a century of Premier League appearances under his belt with Everton, has also played in the Sky Bet Championship before, on loan at West Brom in the 2018/19 season.

Back then, the Baggies were beaten in the play-offs, further fuelling Holgate’s hunger to help Saints bounce back to the top flight at the first attempt.

“My target is promotion, that’s my target,” he said. “I’ve come here to help the boys, and I have a belief in my ability that I’ll come in and I’ll play the games, but more than that it’s playing with quality and getting promotion, that’s the target. It’s not just about me on a personal level, I want the team to do well.

“I believe that I will be able to make a big difference to the squad and the team, not just on the pitch but off the pitch. I’m quite loud, I’m quite vocal, so I think I might be able to help the boys go throughout the year, because obviously being a massive club in the league there’s always a target on your back.

“It’s something I’ve obviously experienced with my loan at West Brom, when West Brom had just got relegated. It was a similar position – it was the biggest club in the league at that time and every single week there’s a target on your back because that’s their biggest game of the season, so you’ve got to be up for it every single week, and that’s something that I’m ready for and a challenge that I’m ready to embrace.”

Having captained Everton in the past, Holgate is a natural leader who has already played alongside Saints skipper Jack Stephens with England Under-21s.

Known for his versatility, the Yorkshireman is keen to pin down a centre-back berth and believes Russell Martin’s possession-based approach suits his style “to a tee”.

“Over the years I think people have seen me play a lot of different positions. It’s not something that I’m over the moon with, but it’s obviously something I’m capable of doing,” he added.

“I’m a centre-back, I want to play centre-back. I’m a ball-playing centre-back, and with this manager and the way this team plays, it’s perfect for me to showcase my abilities.

“I don’t think I’ve had many chances to do that so far, so I feel like I’ve got a big point to prove personally, but I feel like I can help the team massively by that quality that I believe I have, which is as a ball-playing centre-half.”