For Lloyd Isgrove, it was a moment that had been 12 years in the making.
The 21-year-old Saints winger realised a dream at Liverpool last Sunday, when he ran onto the famous Anfield turf for his Premier League debut.
Arriving on the pitch as an 82nd minute substitute to a warm reception from the travelling supporters, Isgrove achieved an ambition he had held ever since he joined the club at the age of nine.
“To walk out in front of the fans of the club that I’ve been a part of for so many years was a really proud moment for me,” he said.
“We went up on the Saturday, flew up to Liverpool and stayed in the hotel. It was all a good experience, but, obviously, it was nothing like what happened on Sunday.
“There wasn’t really any indication of me coming on or playing whatsoever.
“When I found out I was on the bench I was happy, because there’s always a chance.
“With the way the game went, it fancied me to come on, which I did. I was absolutely delighted.”
Yeovil-born Isgrove might still be a youngster, but his journey with Saints has already lasted more than a decade, beginning after the coach of his local youth side asked the club to look at him.
“The manager supported Saints and he just phoned Southampton and said ‘We’ve got a lad here who’s quite good, can you give him a trial?’ and it just went from there,” he said.
Isgrove, who was handed a new one-year contract in the summer, enjoyed a fine pre-season, turning in a series of eye-catching performances that forced his way into Ronald Koeman’s reckoning.
But the academy product knows the real challenge is staying there.
“Now I’ve made my debut and I’m looking to push on,” he said. “I think this will be my biggest season yet.”
Isgrove is buoyed by the feeling that his own style of play will suit Koeman’s philosophy.
“He seems to like out-and-out wingers, which is primarily my position,” he said.
“I think that is because he’s Dutch and that’s how they do it over there.
“I don’t really drift inside so much as other players.”
Part of the reason Isgrove believes he has taken a step forward is due to the loan spell he had at Peterborough late last season, which featured a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final win and a League 1 play-off semi-final.
“Going out on loan was a lot different,” he said.
“It’s a lot more physical, which I think helped me coming back and then being around the first-team squad.”
Isgrove knows he may soon face extra competition for a place in the squad, though, with Saints keen to sign another wide player.
“I think competition is always good to have,” he said. “If you’ve got good strength and depth in the squad, I think that helps each player perform to the best of their ability.
“Even if a winger does come in, I’m still going to train and play as hard as I can.”
Isgrove is hoping this afternoon will yield his home Premier League debut, but, more importantly than that, a win.