Smallbone: The perfect week

By SFC Media Sat 22 Feb Saints v Aston Villa
Photo by Matt Watson | Will Smallbone

It's been a memorable 48 hours for Will Smallbone as the recently turned 20-year-old celebrated with a victory on his Premier League debut.

Smallbone turned 20 on Friday and got a present from Ralph Hasenhüttl as he was given a starting place in the 2-0 win against Aston Villa. 

The midfielder put in a performance to be proud of and was brought off to a standing ovation as he was substituted in the 79th minute for Oriel Romeu.

Reflecting on the last few days and his performance, he said: "It's been perfect, it's been a good week. I got an inkling yesterday that I'll be in the team but found out for sure today.

"I felt more confident out there today (after his debut against Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup) because I have been training with the guys every day and they give you good bits of advice and everyone was helpful.

"For the first few minutes I just wanted a good few touches to build into the game. There's a few things I could have done better but overall I think I'm happy."

There was nearly a debut goal too for the midfielder as his early effort deflected off the post but it was the performance Smallbone was more concerned by: "To be fair I didn't kick it how I wanted to and it got a deflection but oh well. 

"We played very well first half. We were disappointed at half time that we weren't a few more ahead. Second half we had to grind it out but we got the goal at the end to seal it.

And now the focus turns to the future and he believes he is in the right place, he said: "If you are playing well and training well it shows that he's (Ralph Hasenhüttl) not afraid to put you in, it shows that this is the right club for me to progress.

"That's what I want to build on now and progress. Try and get as many minutes as I can and help the team in whatever way I can."

Related

Saints clinch home win over Villa
Hasenhüttl praises youngster Smallbone
Saints v Aston Villa

Hasenhüttl praises youngster Smallbone

Boss explains why he gave the 20-year-old his top-flight debut.

Sun 23 Feb
Armstrong relieved to seal victory Highlights: Saints 2-0 Villa On This Day: Lundekvam breaks his duck 49 mins ago
On This Day

On This Day: Lundekvam breaks his duck

Relive the day Claus Lundekvam scored his first Saints goal.

Best of the Saints: Claus Lundekvam Annual Gender Pay Gap report