Gaston Ramirez could be given one last chance to resurrect his Saints career after Ronald Koeman praised the £12m man’s increased discipline.

Ramirez has struggled to make any kind of meaningful impact on the Saints team since his then club record move from Bologna in 2012.

It appeared his time at the club was petering out with his contract up at the end of this season and seemingly little chance of him returning to the first team squad.

However, after the transfer window closed with Ramirez still at the club, the 24-year-old has been back in training and made a surprise first team appearance as a second half sub in the 6-0 Capital One Cup win over MK Dons.

Koeman has noted Ramirez’s increased discipline and is open minded about whether the Uruguayan can salvage his Saints career.

“What's changed is we are past the transfer window,” said Koeman.

"We had some injuries with some players (for the game against MK Dons) and I gave some players a rest.

"Of course, normally, it is a possibility to take one of the strikers from the under-21s, but they played on Monday for 90 minutes.

"He (Ramirez) is part of the team, he is training well, his behaviour is positive. I’m the first to give that kind of player a chance when we need somebody."

He added: “Maybe one thing (has changed) because he is a player who likes to take freedom on the pitch.

"I say always to the players take freedom out of your position. What he did Wednesday was different than sometimes when he played.

"He played more from the right and then he can go in. That's the freedom that every attacker, every forward, needs.

"But, in my opinion, he took too much freedom and then it is difficult for your organisation in the team."

It will still be hard for Ramirez to really stake a claim for a new contract with such strength in depth in the attacking roles, but if he can steer clear of the injuries that have blighted his time at the club he might just have one last opportunity to make it work.

“That's one of the big problems for Gaston,” said Koeman of the player’s injuries.

"I spoke to him before starting the pre-season and for the first time he had a normal holiday.

"And after seven or eight days of the pre-season, he got an injury and lost three weeks in the pre-season. Then you know it is difficult.

"Still, he isn’t the first choice on the position in front, but I know his qualities.

"He is technically a very good player and if he is physically on level, yeah, why not? Why not? It's competition.

"It's all about your performance during the whole week and if you get the opportunity to play show your qualities."