More than four years have now passed since Morgan Schneiderlin made a terrifying leap into the unknown.
As he prepares to face West Ham in today’s Premier League contest at Upton Park, the Frenchman knows that the daunting jump was worth it.
It was the summer of 2008 when an 18-year-old Schneiderlin opted to leave his family behind in order to move to England and join Saints.
Unable to speak the language and knowing no one, it was not a simple transition.
“For myself, it was very difficult,” said Schneiderlin, now 22 and one of Saints’ most engaging players, both on and off the pitch.
“I was very young, I was only 18, and for me it was a difficult thing to leave my family and friends to come to England.”
Given his burgeoning reputation at boyhood club RC Strasbourg and his secure place in the France Under-19 set-up, the midfielder could have been forgiven for grasping onto the safe option and staying put.
Yet Schneiderlin had a burning desire to do one thing – something he couldn’t achieve in France. He wanted to play in the Premier League.
There had been opportunities to move before. At 16, Schneiderlin had the chance to join a top-flight English club – believed to be Arsenal.
At that stage, however, he felt he was too young.
But when Championship side Saints came calling two years later, Schneiderlin decided the opportunity had to be seized.
Full story in today's Daily Echo