Ralph Hasenhüttl believes Nathan Tella has proven that he is deserving of his opportunity in the team, and that he can continue to be a significant threat for opposition defences in the coming weeks.
The 21-year-old produced an excellent, not to mention influential, performance in Saturday's 2-0 win at Sheffield United, in what was only the second Premier League start of his fledgling career, notably winning the penalty that allowed Saints to break the deadlock in the first half.
Hasenhüttl has called upon the youngster with increasing regularity as the season has progressed, with Tella now having appeared 12 times for the senior side in the 2020/21 campaign.
With Danny Ings expected to be sidelined until after the international break, Hasenhüttl is happy for more than one reason to see Tella performing so encouragingly.
"Not only this is a positive thing, but we know now that we have Danny out with an injury for three weeks so that gives another opportunity in the attacking position to get a chance to play and therefore we need to find players who are working hard in front and deserve to get a chance to play, and I think he deserves to get a chance," said the Saints boss.
"We must take care, as we have a lot of games coming up, to not overload him, but when he's fit and when he puts every time this effort in that he put in at the weekend then he is a big threat for the opponent."