Saints Academy defender Jordan Turnbull is aiming to follow in the footsteps of good friends James Ward-Prowse and Luke Shaw.
The 18 year-old centre-back has impressed the coaching staff at the club over the last year or so by making the step up, and establishing himself, in Saints’ Under-21s squad.
Now, the Trowbridge raised defender, who signed a two year contract extension with the club on Tuesday, is keen to build on the solid grounding that he has formed in the development side.
He played over 20 times for the Under-21s last season, including eleven appearances in the Elite Group, where he held his own against some of the brightest attacking prospects in the country.
“It was a big step up and I needed a few games to get used to it all,” Jordan recalled to Saints Player.
“Obviously the physicality is there, and mentally as well, because you’re playing against stronger and faster players. I’m pleased with the way I’ve progressed and hopefully it will keep going.”
Turnbull forged a solid partnership with Jack Stephens at the back in a side which narrowly missed out on the play-offs, and the youngster feels that the pair have brought the best out of each other, with Stephens also signing a long term deal earlier this year.
“Me and Jack have got a great partnership and I think it might be because our friendship off the pitch is really good as well,” Jordan highlighted. “We know what each other is going to do on the pitch as well as off it, so it is going well.
“I think he’ll be pleased that I’ve signed a new contract as well, and it would be good if we can keep playing together and progressing together into the first team.”
The defender’s individual form earned him a call-up into the England Under-19s side at the end of the season, where he played twice for the national side alongside another Saints teammate, Calum Chambers.
The Young Lions were unbeaten in their attempts to qualify for the UEFA European U19 Championships, but although England fell just short of making the Finals, for Turnbull, his inclusion had a lasting impact.
“I was honoured to be picked by my country and play for them,” he grinned. “It was a great experience going away with England. I played two games out of the three and I was just pleased that I had the opportunity.
“We didn’t qualify, but I’m happy with my performances and proud to have played for my country.”
Returning to Southampton next week for the beginning of pre-season, Jordan revealed that the chance to push for a first team role as fellow Academy stars, Ward-Prowse, Shaw, Stephens, and Chambers have all done, is an opportunity he is relishing.
“They’re good mates of mine and I can’t wait t to start training with them again,” he said. “I’ve moved out of the digs with Luke, but we’re still good friends off the pitch.
“I’m pleased with my fitness levels,” he added, after completing the strenuous VO2 max testing earlier in the day. “We come back properly next week, and hopefully I’ll be feeling good and ready to hit the ground running to push on again.”