Maya Yoshida believes the additional responsibility he has taken on this season has made him a better player.
The centre-back has become a key component of the Southampton team as the campaign has progressed, producing plenty of impressive displays at the heart of the back line.
Yoshida feels the playing time that he has received has been of great benefit to him, and that taking on an increased role has benefited him.
"I recognise that it makes me a lot better and improves my concentration and makes me feel really strong," he said. "I am really enjoying my time and having such a good responsibility.
"It's always good to play. I've been waiting for this kind of chance for a long time. I just try to do my best and make good communication with the other players, especially Jack Stephens."
Indeed, Yoshida and Stephens have started six of the past seven games together, and the Japan international has been impressed with his younger colleague.
"He's improving a lot," he said. "He still needs to learn many things, but I try to help him and he tries to help me as well.
"We have a good relationship, but, as I say, we need to stop conceding and we have to improve still."