SAINTS manager Russell Martin admitted he is yet to have a conversation with Stuart Armstrong regarding a contract extension.

The Scot has one year left on his current deal, which expires in June 2024, having signed a three-and-a-half-year extension in January 2021.

Armstrong faced uncertainty during the summer transfer window but was convinced to stay at St Mary's by his former Scotland teammate Martin.

Asked by the Daily Echo if there has been any progress towards a new deal, Martin explained how the former Celtic midfielder is focused on enjoying football again at this stage.

“There hasn’t been any conversation about renewing his contract at the moment. I think Stuey just wants to focus on playing football.

“He has had a really difficult 18 months/two years, he’s not enjoyed it very much - I don’t think he will mind me saying that.

“Knowing him and having played with him, I am delighted that he’s in the place that he is in. We have seen him come back to life with his energy and his smiling.

“I really love Stuey as a person, he’s highly intelligent and a brilliant footballer, but you can only really show that when you have the opportunity to do that and you’re in a good place with yourself, where you feel valued and like an important part of things."

Armstrong has made eight starts since Martin took over as Saints manager this summer and is now considered a crucial part of the midfield.

He has popped up with some important goals during those appearances, putting Southampton ahead early against Rotherham just days after his stunning free-kick to beat Stoke City 1-0.

“I think he understands now that we want him to do well and to be the best version of himself that he can be," Martin continued. 

"I think he’s been great for us. We had a tough spell, he came back into the team when we really needed him, and he delivered.

“I hope we can continue to see that Stuey, because if we do he is a really top performer at this level. In the summer it was a different Stuart Armstrong to the one I knew.

"Football has a way of doing that to people and affecting your energy. It was really sad for me to see that he felt like that about football after a difficult period of time. Now he’s starting to enjoy himself again.

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“As I said, the energy is there and the smile is back, it’s been nice to see. Now he’s the guy I remember him being early on in his journey, with the enthusiasm and energy he had when he first got in the Scotland squad. 

“It’s up to us and him to keep him in that place where he can really contribute because he’s a brilliant footballer and a brilliant guy.

"In terms of the long-term future, I think he just wants to concentrate on playing football.

“He is all in with us now, he’s being really present and just focusing day to day. I think that’s all we can ask of him and the rest will take care of itself.”