Jake Vokins is determined to earn the trust of Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhüttl, having signed a new four-year contract at St Mary’s.
Saints’ recently completed 2019/20 campaign proved a breakthrough year for the 20-year-old left-back, who made three appearances for the first team, including 90 minutes in the Premier League against Brighton last month.
Now that he’s been given a taste of the top flight, the Academy graduate and England youth international is eager for more.
“When he came into the club, he brought his own philosophy of how he wanted to play, so it’s about me learning and understanding what he wants from me as a player to develop,” Vokins said of the boss.
“I definitely want to make more appearances and prove that the manager can trust me. I have to take the opportunities that I hopefully get from him and keep working hard.”
Vokins is aware of the rich history of left-backs to have progressed through the club’s Academy, including Franny Benali, Wayne Bridge, Gareth Bale and Luke Shaw.
He also points to England international Ryan Bertrand, who has racked up more than 200 Saints appearances, as a key mentor.
“It’s definitely inspiring, but it’s a lot of big names to look up to. I want to make a statement with my own name and do that myself, but I can definitely learn from them,” he added.
“Learning from the more experienced players in the squad and training with them day in, day out, and has helped me improve my game and develop as a player.
“He (Bertrand) has definitely helped me a lot. We chat during training, and after training he’s giving me tips on what I can do to be the best full-back I can.
“I was cleaning his boots and now I’m training alongside him every day, so it’s a bit surreal!”