SAINTS under-21 defender Zach Awe insisted he "needs to play men's football" upon joining Accrington Stanley on a season-long loan.

The 20 year old has joined the League Two outfit a year on from signing for Saints after his departure from Arsenal's academy.

The six-foot five-inches centre-back was a regular in Adam Asghar's under-21s last season, playing 17 Premier League 2 games.

However, he now feels that playing regular first-team football is crucial to continue his development.

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In a new interview with Accrington Stanley, he said: "I moved to Southampton last season. I did a year in youth football. I needed to get out and play men's football.

"When the call came in from the gaffer, (the move) made sense. I didn't know much about Accrington until I did a bit of research.

"This move needed to happen at this stage of my career so that I could kick on and develop as a man and a footballer.

"I'm aiming to play as many games as possible and hopefully achieve promotion.  I just want to help the team. It's going to be a huge jump, I think it's something that I'm ready for.

"I'm excited for the challenge, whatever games come, I am ready."