MATT Targett is hoping his “dream” will come true this season when he gets the chance to play for Saints in the Premier League.
Saints could replace one 18-year-old England international with another in the top flight in 2014/15.
Following Luke Shaw’s departure to Manchester United, another academy lad, Targett, has been operating at left back in Saints’ pre season friendlies so far.
Targett, an England U19 international, said: “You hear the phrase all the time, but for me it really would be a dream come true.
“When Luke left it was a case of mixed emotions for me.
“Obviously I was sad to see him leave as he is a good friend and we’ve grown up together.
“But on the other hand I know it is a great opportunity to make that position my own.”
Targett knows Saints have an incredible record of nurturing and developing talented youngsters into world class professionals, none more so than at left-back.
“It’s inspirational to see what players like Gareth Bale and Luke Shaw have achieved,” he added in an interview with the Football Association’s website thefa.com.
“To see Gareth scoring in the final and winning the Champions League with one of the biggest clubs in the world was just incredible.
“I’ve been at the club since I was eight so I was here when Gareth was - and to see what he’s gone on to achieve is something very special.
“And that he started in my position too, it makes it even more inspirational.”
Ahead of Saints’ friendly at AFC Bournemouth tonight, Targett said: “At pre-season we do a lot more training than during the regular season.
“It can be quite intensive and we’re doing morning and evening sessions at the moment – but I’m really enjoying it.
“We do a lot of gym work and generally longer sessions on the training pitch, then as the season gets going it gradually eases off and you get into the routine of matches every few days.
“At this stage though it’s all about getting back into the swing of things and getting used to the tempo again.
“If you asked me what I’d be happy to have achieved this time next year then I would have hoped to have made my Premier League debut, to have got a few appearances under my belt – and then if I do well, potentially a call-up to the England U20s or even the Under-21s.
“I’m very excited about next season.”