Southampton wide-man Sam McQueen has been rewarded with a new four-and-a-half-year contract with the club, following a string of impressive performances.
The new deal caps off a quite remarkable couple of months for the Saints academy graduate, and McQueen himself is delighted to have put pen to paper.
With first-choice left-back Ryan Bertrand out and second-choice Matt Targett limping off, little was expected when the young McQueen was thrown on as a makeshift replacement for the latter early on during the encounter with Burnley.
Making your Premier League debut is daunting enough on its own. However McQueen, naturally a left-winger, was playing out of position, meaning that it looked like being a harsh introduction to the top level for the converted left-back.
Yet despite this, he flourished on his opening outing, looking solid defensively and dangerous offensively in an assured display. This encouraging start was the catalyst for an extended run in the first team for McQueen, including a memorable full debut in the Europa League against European giants Inter Milan at the San Siro.
It is probably no surprise to anyone that, after McQueen's fine start to life in the first team, that rumours of him being poached by a traditionally bigger club became a frequent feature of the back pages. Most notably was the reported interest from Liverpool, who allegedly were prepared to splash £40 million to bring both the wide-man and his team-mate Virgil Van Dijk to Merseyside.
However, any whispers of a move away for McQueen have been silenced with his signing of a new contract at Southampton, which will keep him at the club until 2021.
Clearly completely amazed and engrossed in his rapid rise, he stated that "it feels really good", to extend his deal, and that he's "really happy to be out on the pitch playing games for the first team." McQueen concluded by saying that the new contract "rounds off" an "amazing couple of months".
The Southampton way
McQueen is just one of the latest in Southampton's now world famous list of academy graduates, which includes the likes of Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale and Adam Lallana.
Saints' Executive Director of Football Les Reed was quick to express his delight at the youngster's rise, describing him as "another example of our philosophy to bring players through the academy into the first team".
After a brief drop in the number of youth players making the jump to the summit on the South Coast under ex-boss Ronald Koeman, new manager Claude Puel has made sure that Southampton's reputation of producing their own talent is restored. The emergence of homegrown talents Jake Hesketh and Josh Sims as well as McQueen under the Frenchman have reassured everyone around St Mary's that the future is bright.