Will Smallbone says it feels very special to commit his future to Southampton.
The Republic of Ireland under-19 midfielder has signed a four-year contract at St. Mary’s.
Smallbone scored on his senior debut for the Saints earlier this year in the FA Cup third round victory over Huddersfield.
His new deal will keep the 20-year old at St. Mary's until at least the summer of 2024.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic called a halt to proceedings in the Premier League, Smallbone had begun to make an impact in Southampton's first team.
He started games in late-February against both Aston Villa and West Ham.
His manager Ralph Hassenhuttl believes Smallbone will be a key cog in the Saints side in the coming years, "Will is a young man who is part of the future of this football club.
"He has made some big steps this season, and he is someone who has a lot of potential to continue to grow as a player. This is the right place for him to continue to do this.
"He has shown in our training sessions and under pressure in matches that he can play, and he is also someone who understands our philosophy as a team and a club.
"He knows where and how he needs to improve his game, and I think that, together, we can develop him a lot in these next few years."
Smallbone was born in Basingstoke, but qualifies for Ireland through his mother Mary. His father Tony passed away when he was 15.
He's delighted to be rewarded with a new deal in his breakthrough season, "I’m very happy. I’ve been at the club for a long time now, so to commit my long-term future, for another four years, is very special for me.
"To see the manager sign a new contract was big for me too. He’s given me a chance this season to, firstly, be in and around training with the squad and then actually give me my chance in the games to play and show what I could do, so that’s a big factor in me committing as well."