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Pellegrino lauds Stephens’ recent displays

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Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino has hailed Jack Stephens’ recent development and explained that his passion is what makes him such a key player.

Speaking to the Daily Echo, Saints boss Pellegrino was full of praise for the 24-year-old, who has scored three goals in three consecutive matches in all competitions.

Jack’s a natural, obviously. The passion is really important but to work every single day in training and you need passion to react well in difficult situations. Without the passion and character it is difficult to play at this level.

Stephens netted the winner in Saints’ FA Cup win over Watford, before scoring his side’s equalising goal against Brighton. More recently, he netted Saints’ second goal in their 3-2 win at West Brom, contributing to a massively important three points.

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To celebrate goals is the easier part of football, when everyone comes to you to celebrate. We are very happy because those goals aren’t just important for him but for everyone and hopefully he can continue with these performances.

Pellegrino has been opting to use Stephens instead of the more experienced Maya Yoshida in recent times and it’s clear to see that the ex-Alaves manager is a fan of him and his qualities.

Stephens has come under fire for his lack of aerial presence and this was exemplified by his failure to track Ahmed Hegazi for West Brom’s opening goal on Saturday.

He did make amends, though, with a superb header of his own and will hope to continue this purple patch in front of goal.