Southampton youngster Jake Hesketh was delighted to return to action against Everton Under-23s, following a four-month injury lay off.
The 20-year-old played an hour during Saints’ 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park, though admitted his return was soured somewhat by the disappointing result.
“I am a bit tired after that, to be fair,” he explained.
“It’s been a frustrating few months for me, so it’s nice to be back; I just wish it were in slightly better circumstances.
“I’ve had a few setbacks, but hopefully they will make me tougher mentally. I’ve also spent a lot of time with the fitness coaches working on different things, so hopefully that will continue to stand me in good stead.”
Hesketh captained Saints for the Premier League 2 encounter, starting in midfield alongside Callum Slattery and Armani Little.
And although the game marked a positive moment in his recovery, he admitted that the result and performance left a lot to be desired.
“It possibly could have been more,” he continued.
“It wasn’t anywhere near our best or what we are capable of, but we’ve got to learn from it – we have an important game coming up against Newcastle.
“They aren’t top of the table for no reason. They have a good group of players, but that isn’t any excuse for us – we weren’t good enough tonight.”