Niall Mason is revelling in the faith that Saints Under-18s coach Jason Dodd has shown in him so far this season.
The midfielder has featured in four out of the last five Youth games – all of which have been 90-minute displays – and helped Southampton to two wins and a draw in the process.
Mason has spoken of how he cherishes the opportunities that Dodd hands him and believes it’s boosting his fitness and performances.
The youngster told Saints Player: “It’s really important because it helps you get onto form and helps you really find your feet. It’s really helping me.
“I think he (Dodd) has shown faith in me. Even last season, a couple of times he played me from a year down. We get on well. It’s good that he shows faith in me.
“I think it took me a bit of time to get into it fitness-wise because I didn’t really have a pre-season through injury. Now I’m picking up fitness and I think I’m finding a bit of form now, so that’s good.”
Not only is Mason’s personal fitness developing, the central midfielder feels that strenuous training sessions are building the whole team’s sharpness and that is only being aided by victories on matchdays.
Following last weekend’s 3-2 victory over Reading, the influential 16-year-old is full of confidence in his own side’s ability in the face of a team that have performed well in the 2013/14 campaign.
“Training has been tough, like it always is – it’s high intensity,” Mason maintained. “I think it’s showing our fitness coming through in the games.
“We’re feeling very confident. They’re a good side; we know a bit about them – but we’re also a good side. We’ve been doing well in the last couple of games. We had a good performance against Reading, so we’re going to be confident in the next game.”