Smallbone pleased with pre-season minutes


Southampton midfielder Will Smallbone reflected on a positive display against SK Austria Klagenfurt, despite the fixture ending goalless.

Saints had a number of opportunities to take the advantage at Worthersee Stadion, with both Smallbone and Ibrihima Diallo hitting the crossbar in the first half.

With Hasenhüttl making ten changes to his side at the break, it was Adam Armstrong that had the best opportunity to get on the scoresheet in the second half, but his missed penalty saw Saints squander the opportunity for a first pre-season victory.

“I felt good,” admitted Smallbone. “I think it was good for me personally to get another 45 minutes so close to the game on Saturday.”

“I think it was a good test, they’re a good side and I think we showed some good glimpses of what we’ve been working on in training. I think if we could provide that cutting edge of finishing the chances when they come the score could have been different today but I think the fact that we’re getting into those situations is promising. “

The 22-year-old has relished the opportunity to be involved in Saints’ pre-season in Austria, building on his international success with Ireland shortly after the 2021/22 season finished.

“I’ve loved it, pre-season gives everyone a chance to get minutes and I think I’m inheriting that very well. I think I had a good summer with Ireland and I’ve tried to carry that into this pre-season, and so far I think I have.

“It’s been really good, the training has been fantastic and two good tests that we’ve had. It’s good for the new lads to get in and around the squad where you can only be with each other, it’s been good for them to learn new things.”

With a number of new faces joining Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side this summer, pre-season has provided a fantastic opportunity for the players to get to know each other both on and off the pitch.

“It’s just as important to get to know people off the pitch as well as on it so you can build that chemistry as a squad that will only help you going into the season.”

Saints still have three pre-season fixtures left to play, first a trip to Watford on Saturday before two home clashes at St Mary’s against Monaco and Villarreal.

“I’m really looking forward to it. We’ve got three more great tests for us before the season starts and it’ll be great for us to get back out in front of the fans at St Mary’s and hopefully put on a good show for them.”