Claude Puel hailed a fantastic night for Jake Hesketh and said it is important the youngster takes significant confidence from his goalscoring display against Crystal Palace.
Hesketh was handed a start in the EFL Cup tie with the Eagles and he rewarded Puel with a fine display that was capped by a second-half goal, which wrapped up Saints’ 2-0 win and sealed their passage to the fourth round.
The 20-year-old’s last first-team appearance had come nearly two years ago, when he was forced off with a bad injury in the early stages of a 1-0 Premier League defeat at Burnley, and his strike at St Mary’s represented a first ever senior goal for the club.
"It's fantastic for him,” Puel said. “He's a good boy and a good young player.
“Now it's important he takes more confidence and can repeat this performance.”
Hesketh has started the season in superb fashion for Southampton Under-23s and, having given him a chance to step up, he was delighted to see him continue his form.
"I think it was the same sort of performance he has been producing for the Under-23s,” said Puel.
“It was interesting to see him at another level in this competition and it's interesting to see these young players and it's interesting for the future.”