Southampton starlet Harrison Reed is an inspiration for the club's next generation of youngsters, according to manager Ronald Koeman.
Reed made his first start in the Barclays Premier League in Saints' 3-0 win over Everton last Sunday and the 19-year-old impressed with an authoritative display in front of the back three.
Koeman's match-day squad at St Mary's listed seven academy graduates and the Southampton boss believes Reed's display was a shining example for the emerging crop.
"For young players it's always good to have that chance to play first-team football because the whole academy can see there are possibilities and you will get a chance if you are doing well," Koeman said.
"If you are working hard the technical staff here are always open to giving young players a chance.
"We believe in our young players because it is part of the philosophy of the club – Harry showed that and that was great to see."
Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama both return from suspensions for the trip to Crystal Palace on Boxing Day, meaning Reed may have to be content with a place on the bench at Selhurst Park.
The midfielder's commanding performance last weekend, however, has certainly given Koeman a decision to make.
"I like to have that kind of choice," Koeman said.
"If I have confidence in the player, the player has the chance to play.
"He started in the team and that means a lot, that means the coaching staff has a lot of confidence in the player.
"It was a difficult situation after some defeats but it was a good moment to bring Harry in against Everton because of the energy he gave to the team. That was fantastic."
The Everton victory ended a miserable run of five consecutive defeats for Koeman's side, who have tumbled out of the top four after a difficult run of fixtures.
An excellent start to the campaign, however, means Southampton remain fifth, two points ahead of both Arsenal and Tottenham.
"At the start of the season, if they had shown me a piece of paper to sign that said we would be fifth in the competition at Christmas I would have said 'okay'," Koeman said.
"I am very proud and happy about that. We have had a bad two or three weeks with some defeats even though some of them were maybe unlucky.
"We had a good game against Everton, we played with good organization and little by little during the game we got our confidence back.
"That's the most important thing now, winning games brings confidence back to the players."
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