Jack Stephens believes Maya Yoshida has played a key role in helping him settle into first-team football this season.
Since replacing the injured Virgil van Dijk in January, Stephens has played the majority of games at centre back with Yoshida.
And the 23-year-old is delighted that the pair have been able to build up such a tight bond.
“It takes time to form a partnership with anyone,” Stephens started.
“But I think me and Maya have started to perform very well together. Over the last two or three months it has got a lot more solid.
“To come into a team that was quite settled was difficult to start with, but Maya has been fantastic for me, as has Cédric. All of the boys have been brilliant and I am very grateful for that.”
Stephens has enjoyed a fine season on the south coast, which has seen him make his Premier League debut, play a key role in the run to the EFL Cup final and net a last-minute winner for England Under-21s at St Mary’s
Understandably, it’s hard for the centre back to pick one standout moment.
“It’s difficult to pick one,” he continued.
“I would probably say the Liverpool semi-final game, though. It was my first big game this season and there was a lot of pressure on all of us.
“Not just me, but the whole team as well. It was a great moment for everyone to pick up that result and get through to the final.”