Jack Stephens feels competition within the Southampton squad means players will have to keep their levels high throughout the season. The 24-year-old has led something of a nomadic lifestyle since signing on at St Mary’s in 2011, with loan spells at Swindon Town Middlesbrough and Coventry City, but he made 22 Premier League starts for Saints last season.
The former England Under-21 defender started at centre-back in the opening day goalless draw with Burnley but ended up playing right-back for Mark Hughes’ side.
New recruits Danny Ings and Mohamed Elyounoussi made an impact from the bench on Saturday and Stephens believes it proves that they have the tools to be competitive this term.
“I think the lads showed that, coming off the bench that everyone wants to play and everyone’s fighting for a chance to play and when we get that opportunity it’s important that we take it,” he said.
The former Plymouth Argyle stopper will hope to play a full season in red and white but knows that he and his team-mates will be jostling for a starting berth as the campaign progresses.
“There’s competition right the way through the squad, everyone’s kept on their toes and there’s someone ready to take their place if we’re not up to 100 per cent,” he added.