Tella: I'm over the moon

By SFC Media time Thu 06 Jan Nathan Tella
Photo by Isabelle Field | Nathan Tella

Delighted? You better believe it! An elated Nathan Tella described his emotions in an extended interview with us on Thursday morning, following the signing of a new deal at Southampton that runs until 2025.

Tella, 22, was characteristically smiley when reflecting on the achievement, explaining that he was 'over the moon' to be offered the chance to extend his stay on the south coast.

The forward made his senior debut during the 2019/20 season, but became a fully fledged first-team campaigner the following year, wracking up 22 appearances.

Despite that, and his evolution since, a humble Tella still believes he has a way to go before considering himself as one of the Premier League's full-timers.

"Yeah, I'm happy," he exclaimed. "I'm over the moon to be honest.

"I really like the club, I'm really enjoying my time here. The fact that the club are believing in me is something I'm so thankful for.

"The club have been nothing but great to me all season, and last season as well. Now I'm here I'm happy to be a part of it and I just want that to continue.

"It shows that the club have faith in me and that's something that I'm happy with. They believe in me and now I've got to believe in myself.

"Moving forward I want to repay the faith they have in me. I want to play more games, be involved in more goals and help the team progress."

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - MAY 15: Nathan Tella of Southampton goal celebration during the Premier League match between Southampton and Fulham at St Mary's Stadium on May 15, 2021 in Southampton, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors.  (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Nathan Tella celebrates scoring his first professional goal against Fulham

It hasn't all been plain-sailing for the Academy graduate. A nasty knee injury sidelined Tella for 10 months back in April 2019, just as his contract was nearing expiry.

Thankfully, then still a teenager, Tella was afforded the opportunity to stay with the club and latterly earn a shot at catching manager Ralph Hasenhüttl's eye. Suffice to say, he hasn't looked back since.

"There was a period of time where I was quite unfortunate to pick up that [knee] injury," Tella continued. "The club stuck by me, gave me a one-year extension, and from then on I felt like I had a point to prove. The manager gave me a chance after lockdown and I've just being trying to repay him.

"There's still a few pinch myself moments. All the boys, they've helped me adjust [to life in the Premier League]. They've motivated me and spoken to me when I've been doing well.

"Fraser [Forster], Jack [Stephens], Prowsey, Redders; they all tell me when I'm doing good, they praise me. But they're also hard on me, telling me what I need to do to improve. Now I feel more comfortable. I still wouldn't say I'm a Premier League player just yet!"

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