Still under contract at Southampton until 2020, Jordy Clasie never managed to break through at St Mary’s, and a loan to Club Brugge in Belgium was arranged over the summer.

While many saw it as a step backwards, the midfielder saw it as a chance to get first-team football in a year that could have seen him go to the World Cup in Russia with the Netherlands.

Unfortunately for him, his country never qualified for the competition, and first-team football has eluded the ‘Dutch Xavi’ this season until now.

His manager explained why it’s taken him so long to finally get fit, and what this means for the Saints’ midfielder in the long run.

Ivan Leko said, relayed by DH: “He wanted to get ready to quickly. He trained too much when he still had small injuries, especially in his knee. This niggle, as well as a drawn out period of inactivity, set back his full rehabilitation.”

However, since his return from injury, things have changed.

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Leko continued: “Jordi has progressed enormously. He’s metamorphosed back into the player who stood out with his talent at Feyenoord a few years ago. I’ve always considered Clasie like a key element.

“Against Lokeren, he’ll have some game time. Will he start? I don’t know. For me, the team is the most important. I always try and lay out a team that will give it the best balance”.

Speaking before the game, the manager was seemingly impressed by what Clasie did prior to the game, as the Southampton midfielder played the full 90 minutes, and even picked up an assist.

While there’s still a long way to go, this will be good news for the Saints, who, when he returns from his loan, could end up either hanging onto him and playing him, or just selling him on and try and recoup some of the £13.5m they spent on the midfielder in the first place.