After starring in the Under-21 Premier League Cup win and signing his first professional contract in the space of 18 hours, defender Will Wood says he’s set got his sights set on Saints’ first team.
The 18 year-old, who played the full 120 minutes against Blackburn Rovers in the cup final on Monday night, put pen to paper the following day, signing a deal which will keep him at St Mary’s until 2018.
And, having been with the club for the best part of a decade already, Wood reckons he’s at the best possible place to continue his footballing education.
“Coming in as an 11 year-old, you look at the players who are coming through then, Alex Chamberlain, players like that, and you think ‘wow’,” he told Southampton’s official YouTube channel.
“They were in League One then, so to sign at a Premier League club professionally is a big achievement.
“Obviously now I’ve got three years, so I’ve got three years to develop until I’m 21 so I’m looking to get into the first team and even make an appearance, but that’s all in the future. I’ve just got to carry on training well, playing well and hopefully that will come.
“The likes of Bale, Lallana, Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers, Prowsey, you can go on. Players that I played with (on Monday) night, they’re good players – most of them have played for the first team.
“It shows that the club puts faith in the young players, and I don’t think I could be at a better place really.”
Wood turned in a solid defensive display alongside captain Jason McCarthy at the heart of Southampton’s defence in front of over 12,000 supporters on Monday, helping keep Eric Kinder’s Rovers at bay.
And the teenager admits the fantastic atmosphere in stadium has given him a taste for success that he wants to repeat at the club.
“You can’t put words to it really. When I was just about to start the game, looking across and seeing 12,000-plus people there, it was amazing for me, especially at a young age as well to play in a side like that and win such a big tournament,” he said.
“They were like the 12th man really. When we scored, the stadium just erupted, and at the final whistle it was amazing to hear that. It just inspires me to carry on training well, and I want more of that.”