SAINTS academy graduate Nathan Tella scored a brace for Bayer Leverkusen as they beat SV Darmstadt 2-0 on Saturday.

The 24 year old was making his first league start since joining Xabi Alonso’s side in the summer.

Tella has been restricted to just 242 Bundesliga minutes for the league leaders so far this season.

But he has now made a strong claim for a starting place by scoring twice to ensure his side remain unbeaten.

The Nigerian international’s first goal saw him ghost in at the back post before heading home.

His second was smashed in to the near post having been teed up by Florian Wirtz.

Tella was left out of the Super Eagles squad for the Africa Cup of Nations, which boasts Southampton's Joe Aribo and loaned out forward Paul Onuachu.

The former Burnley loanee's brace has taken his tally in Germany to five goals in all competitions having also struck in the Europa League.

Bayer Leverkusen currently sit top of the Bundesliga on 52 points, two points above perennial winners Bayern Munich.