Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino believes that Gastón Ramírez is now beginning to showcase his true ability.
The Uruguayan playmaker, once the club’s record signing, has endured a somewhat disappointing time at the club since his £12m arrival from Bologna in 2012.
Yet, in the last couple of months, Ramírez has begun to display, on a more consistent basis, the sort of form that prompted Saints to sign him in the first place.
Against Norwich, before being forced off by a leg cramp in the second-half, the 23-year-old was a menacing presence.
Starting his first league game since New Year’s Day, he produced a stunning ball for the team’s first goal, and his vision and range of passing was sublime.
“We’re very happy for him,” said Pochettino. “We’re always especially happy with players that don’t get as much playing time as others.
“He had a cramp in one of his legs, so he had to come off. But, overall, we’re very happy with his contribution.”
Ramírez had begun to show signs of better form before suffering a cruel injury blow in January’s 2-2 draw at Sunderland.
Despite being sidelined for five weeks with ankle ligament damage, his period of absence does not appear to have knocked him back, although Pochettino did say that he is still not quite in peak condition.
“He was quite unlucky with the injury he picked up in Sunderland,” said the Saints manager.
“He’s still been recovering from that, he’s still been getting into playing time, and I think just now he’s showing what he can do.”
Pochettino would not be drawn into a conversation about how much of a threat Ramírez could be to England at the World Cup this summer, with Uruguay drawn in the same group as Roy Hodgson’s team.
But his ability will surely not have gone unnoticed by the England manager, who was watching from the stands on Saturday.
What Pochettino, pictured below, did say, however, is that he wants to see Ramírez now perform at a consistently high level, and not just in flashes, although the Argentine did warn that the talented youngster must still be given time and scope to adapt to the Premier League.
“We hope that he can show that consistency,” said Pochettino. “I think we have to take into account that he’s a very young player still, that he just arrived last season, that he still needs to adapt to the English league.
“It’s a different kind of league for him, and we more than hope that he’s able to have a lot more consistency.”