SAINTS' latest recruit Nico Lawrence has labelled his move to Staplewood from non-league as a "great opportunity", with the young defender believing there is "a better pathway than most clubs" at Saints.

The 19-year-old had previously spent time with Fulham and Crystal Palace at an academy level, followed by spells with Sutton United and Kinetic Academy.

Glebe currently sit top of the Southern Counties East Premier, with Lawrence also helping the side reach the last 32 of the FA Vase.

Lawrence is Saints’ second signing of 2022, after the south coast club brought 16-year-old Will Armitage in from Cheltenham Town earlier this month.

Speaking to Saints’ media about the move, Lawrence said: “I feel excited. Delighted to be honest.

“I’m just hoping we can try and push and achieve things with this team.

“I felt like Southampton has a better pathway than most clubs. Facility-wise it’s good as well. I feel like it will be a great opportunity for me to push on and show what I can do.

“I would say I’m very technical, like to head the ball as well.”

Lawrence had been on trial with Saints over the past few weeks, featuring in numerous games as a trialist.

After his signing was announced earlier today, Lawrence was immediately in action for Saints’ Premier League youth cup tie with AFC Bournemouth.

“Over the last couple of weeks I feel like I’ve settled in quite well with the lads,” continued Lawrence.

“Every game I play I want to improve and hopefully try and push for the first team. I’d like to make as many appearances as possible.”