Ross Stewart, a summer signing from Southampton, looks to be improving as he started for the Saints U21s this afternoon.
Southampton signed Stewart from Sunderland on deadline day of the summer transfer window.
The striker has not yet made his debut for Russell Martin’s team, despite the Saints having paid an initial cost of £8 million with the possibility of add-ons worth an additional £4 million.
Stewart has missed the most of the year due to an Achilles injury, but he makes his Southampton U21s debut this afternoon against Sunderland’s U21s.
After leading the Black Cats to promotion from League One in 2022 with 26 goals in the league, the 27-year-old scored 10 goals in 13 Championship games the following year.
His year was disrupted by two big injuries, but when he was well, he played well in the second division, and Martin will undoubtedly be anxious for him to return to full fitness and start for the first team.
A welcome return for Southampton…
Given the length of Stewart’s injury, Martin and Southampton certainly won’t rush him back into Championship action, so expect a few games with the U21s to build up his fitness.
But this is certainly a huge step for Stewart. He has a chance to showcase his class against the U21s and give Martin some food for thought going forward.
Stewart is obviously a striker with great pedigree in the Championship but with the likes of Adam Armstrong scoring goals, where Stewart might fit in remains to be seen.
It’s a nice problem for Martin to have, though, with his side back in Championship action vs Millwall this weekend.