Jérémy Pied says he will use the time out he has had to endure this season to help him bounce back better than ever.
The Frenchman has been sidelined since the first week of the current season after suffering a cruciate injury in training, a blow which came just weeks after he joined the club.
Pied hasn’t let the setback keep him down, though and is focusing on a stronger future with Saints.
“A lot of people have said this, but there is no good time to have this injury in your career. After my contract with Southampton it was a bad moment,” he highlighted.
“I feel very strong – I hope! It was important. I didn't want to come back too quickly. The most important thing is to come back stronger, so I feel good. I feel good in my knee, good in my body, and this is the most important.
“I feel good, so I am ready to play, but I need some training of course with more intensity. Then, after, I am ready to play.”
Pied has been guided back to fitness by the work of Southampton’s medical staff, and he praised their efforts for helping him to make a smooth recovery.
“They were very important for me, because it was a long time,” he explained. “I stayed here. I didn't travel to a rehabilitation centre in another country, for example.
“I stayed with them, and they were very focused on the work with me, step by step and day by day. It was very, very good – and very long! I really want to thank them for all the work they’ve carried out to this point. It’s thanks to them that I’ve managed to get back out on the pitch so quickly.
“I have tried to stay quiet (about his return), because this is the risk to be excited to play. I try to stay quiet and give my best on the pitch, step by step, and now I feel very good.”
The full back also added his gratitude for the support he has received from the fans during his time out.
“That's very important,” he said. “That's why I put out some videos, because some fans ask me when I will come back, so I tried to put some videos to show where I was in my rehabilitation. I want to thank them for their messages and support on social media.”