Academy graduate Nathan Tella was left with a bittersweet feeling after making his full debut for Southampton in the 2-0 Carabao Cup defeat at the hands of Brentford.
Hosting the Championship outfit in the second round, two strikes just before the break from Christian Nørgaard and Josh Dasilva confirmed Saints’ early exit from the competition.
Having been handed a first full start for the club, winger Tella was left to reflect on a night of mixed emotions.
“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “I was speaking to my parents last night and said it’s something I’ve wanted to do my whole life.
Nathan tellaIt's a dream come true and something I've wanted to do my whole life.
“The fact it came today, the result was not the best but on a personal note, it’s a dream come true and something I’ve worked towards my whole life and I’m happy to get there and for it to have happened tonight.
“I’m happy to get my first start but disappointed with the loss.”
The 21-year-old made his Premier League debut in the closing stages of Southampton’s 3-0 win at Norwich toward the end of the 2019/20 campaign, but now hopes to build on the 83 minutes earned tonight.
“I think this is going to give me a change in mindset, I know now what it takes to be involved in a first team match for a whole 90-minute match, I know I can’t switch off and always have to stay focused.
“It’s nice to see the club have shown faith in me and given me the opportunity tonight.
“I’ve been training with the first team recently and having that opportunity has given me the confidence in myself that I know I can go out and perform and focus on football with no other distractions.”