Coming to the Premier League from the SPL is a jump up in quality and for much of the season, Mark Hughes hasn’t trusted Stuart Armstrong to make it.
But the Scotland international did his utmost to haul Southampton towards a result in their relegation six-pointer against Fulham on Saturday, but his impressive double was not enough to prevent his side slipping to a 3-2 defeat.
That only served to intensify the pressure on Hughes, but Armstrong cannot be accused of not playing for his manager; he put in his best Southampton display at Craven Cottage.
His time on the South Coast has been in need of a kickstart and despite the result, Armstrong will hope that his two-goal haul can provide that and convince Hughes to hand him a central role in Southampton’s survival bid.
That was exactly what the Scot needed and he should have now earned his place at the heart of Hughes’ midfield plans; an area of the pitch which has been in dire need of creativity for much of the season.
Hughes’ reluctant to trust Armstrong has been perplexing but he can surely no longer be ignored after Saturday.