Having made a name for himself on his debut fifteen months ago in a 1-0 victory over Everton, where he claimed an assist in the first minute, Josh Sims had slowly become an established first-team player - that was until the 20-year-old was forced to sit on the sidelines for much of last year.
Sims, formerly of the Portsmouth youth academy, made his return to the senior squad for Southampton's FA Cup triumph over West Bromwich Albion earlier this month, but the side's most recent outing, on the road at Burnley, is when the youngster really showed his true talents.
Now he's aiming to play a key role in battling for the Saints' safety as Mauricio Pellegrino's men are lingering within the Premier League's bottom outfits.
“It came at an awkward time for me''
Talking about his frustrating injury which he picked up prior to Pellegrino's arrival, Josh Sims described the baffling situation at which he found himself in, saying: "The injury came at a bad time for me but you can’t do anything about injuries, it’s one of those things in football.''
However, the winger's injury was suffered in training whilst Claude Puel was still in the reigns at St. Mary's, so there was an added challenge for Sims in order to get back into Southampton's senior squad.
Sims stated: “With the change in manager it was always going to be a clean slate for everyone. Of course, it was an awkward one for me and a hard one to take considering where I was at the time.''
Considering the positional trouble the Saints find themselves in amongst the Premier League table, supporters may be realistic in thinking the boss could tamper with the current team in order to fit Josh Sims into his plans.
“Hopefully I can start to show the manager what I can do''
The England under-20 international has been featuring in the club's reserve team in order to rack up the minutes and regain match fitness, but the opportunity to play within the first-team again is something Sims will want to cherish: ''It’s down to myself really to take the opportunities when I come on''.
Mauricio Pellegrino is scrambling for wide player options with the only two out-and-out wingers at the club being Sofiane Boufal and Nathan Redmond, the latter failing to live up to expectations this season, so the chance for Josh Sims is there and it's one he will want to firmly grab.
''We’ve got a few games left and hopefully, I can make an impact towards the end of the season and keep us up," Sims said. "That’s the main thing.”
''A player like me just has to be positive''
The Saints fell behind to Burnley in their Premier League encounter mid-way through the second half when Ashley Barnes slotted home from inside the box to give the hosts an advantage, and it was only a brief few moments afterwards that Pellegrino made the change to bring one academy graduate, James Ward-Prowse, off to replace him with another - Josh Sims.
Supporters were able to see the player's impact for 22 minutes and even he admits the substitution was a positive move by the boss.
“When you come off the bench you’ve just got to do your best and try and make an impact," Sims added.
''I think I did that, so I was happy with my performance.''
Following that draw at Turf Moor last weekend, Southampton host Stoke City at St. Mary's, a game where there is more than three points at stake and one which the Saints have to claim victory if they want to avoid a desperate relegation scrap; more than the one the club already find themselves in.