Armstrong: Last 12 months my best

By SFC Media time Fri 01 Jan First team
Photo by Matt Watson | Stuart Armstrong

Stuart Armstrong spoke of the importance of the past 12 months at Southampton for him, after signing a new contract with the club that extends his stay at St Mary's until the summer of 2024.

The midfielder, who joined Saints in 2018 from Celtic, agreed the fresh deal this week and then reflected on his time with the club so far.

the last 12 months i've definitely felt more comfortable and been able to produce better performances.

stuart armstrong
southampton midfielder

For Scotland international Armstrong, it is the past year that has proven particularly valuable for him, as he has established himself as a key figure within Ralph Hasenhüttl's first-team squad, helping the team enjoy an incredibly successful 2020. 

"I would say the last 12 months were probably the best on a personal note for me," he said.

"I think when you move to a new club, for me especially it always takes me a bit of time it seems to be comfortable and feel part of the club and the team and get to know everyone, so once that's out the way I think it always helps on the pitch and I think the last 12 months I've definitely felt more comfortable and been able to produce better performances on the pitch.

"I think we're making big steps. Post-lockdown, we put in some very good performances and finished the season really strongly after a slightly disappointing start, and then this season I really think we've put in some solid performances and picked up a lot of points when maybe previously we would have dropped them.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 30: Southampton FC's Stuart Armstrong signs a new contract to keep him at the club until 2024, pictured at the Staplewood Campus on December 30, 2020 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Stuart Armstrong signs his new deal

"We definitely seem to be heading in the right direction, there's definitely things to improve on and develop within our game, but it's leaps and bounds from where we were not so long ago."

The development has not just been at a team level for Armstrong either, but also an individual one.

"It's been a learning experience coming down to England and being a part of the Premier League," he said. "It isn't without its challenges, but that's part of the game that you learn from. I've certainly learnt a lot about myself and I think I've improved as a player, so if that continues to go in a positive direction then I will be very happy with that."

One of the biggest things he has had to learn is a new position, fitting into one of the "number-ten" spots in Hasenhüttl's side – a departure from what he was used to while in Scotland.

"It was definitely a position I had to learn, it's not something I had experienced before," he said.

"At Celtic I had played more central and that's what I was used to and was sort of a natural position for me, and so this new formation that the manager brought in, I think not just for me but everyone in the team, we had to adapt and learn a slightly different role and it definitely took some time to learn and some teething problems with that, but once you understand what the manager wants from you I think you can really excel, and with the opportunities he gives you, and I've seemed to find a home in that number ten position and enjoy playing there when asked."

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