Billy Sharp staked an early claim in pre-season after firing a hat-trick in a 4-1 win over Swiss side Etoile Carouge.

Saints overturned a half-time deficit as they opened up their summer tour with a resounding victory against the Geneva-based side.

It was Sharp, one of nine substitutes for Nigel Adkins ’ team at the break, who stole the show with an impressive treble.

The striker faces stiff competition in his position this season, with Saints boasting an attacking corps that also includes Rickie Lambert , Jay Rodriguez, Tadanari Lee and Guly do Prado.

But his performance last night will have done his chances of winning a place in the team no harm at all.

Saints fell behind in the 38th minute, as Jos Hooiveld headed a cross into his own net.

But, following a mass of half-time changes, they were soon back level, as teenage star Luke Shaw, playing in an advanced role, curled in a right foot shot nine minutes after the restart.

Sharp put Saints in front with 20 minutes left, converting James Ward-Prowse’s free-kick from the left.

He added another with a smart finish six minutes later, before completing his hat-trick as he slid home after collecting Calum Chambers’ pass late on.

Saints: Davis (Forecast 46), Butterfield (Richardson 46), Fonte (Stephens 46), Hooiveld (Seaborne 46), Fox (Harding 46), Schneiderlin (Hammond 46), Ward-Prowse, Lallana (Chambers 46), Puncheon (Chaplow 67), Guly (Shaw 46), Lambert (Sharp 46).