Southampton Under-23s midfielder Jake Flannigan made his return from injury against Swansea City in the Premier League Cup.
The 20-year-old, who has been sidelined since last November with a knee injury, replaced Richard Bakary in the second-half at Landore Training Ground.
“It’s amazing to be back,” explained Flannigan.
“I’ve worked for such a long time to get back, and this has always been the end goal. This is where I really wanted to be.
“To get back on the pitch means everything to me, and also to my family and all of the staff that have put a lot of effort into getting me where I am to today.
“Recovering from injury has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do, but it’s taught me a lot about myself and my body.”
Flannigan played half an hour at right-back against Swansea and helped Saints to record a 1-0 victory in Wales.
Despite not feeling 100%, he was pleased to get the minutes, three points and a clean sheet under his belt.
“I felt a little bit off the mark this evening,” Flannigan continued.
“But it’s not about that. It’s about getting back into the action and getting the game time.
“All of the lads performed really well to get the clean sheet and I am buzzing for all of them to get the win.
“Hopefully now, personally, I can push on and get some more minutes under my belt.”