Ireland goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu might have hoped for a more fruitful first season of Premier League football, with the Southampton man and his team on the verge of being relegated to the Championship.
Despite maintaining his excellent form in an Irish jersey throughout the season, it has been more challenging for Bazunu at club level. As the last line of defence for the struggling Southampton side, he has been under an intense spotlight.
In terms of underlying statistics, Bazunu himself has also underperformed, conceding 16 more goals than the xG of Southampton's games would have predicted. Those stats were brought to the fore by Jamie Carragher on Monday Night Football this week, as he said that Bazunu had been a "big problem" for Southampton this season.
Nonetheless, he remains a hugely promising talent, and will only get better as he continues to gain experience at the top level.
In an interview with Sky Sports this week, Bazunu showed his elite mentality and desire to use this season to push on and become an even better goalkeeper, with comments that will fill Irish fans with confidence.
Gavin Bazunu shows elite mentality with Sky interview
Still only 21 years old, it's only natural that Gavin Bazunu will take some time to blossom into the consistent top class goalkeeper he has shown the potential to be in his early performances for Ireland.
His first season at Premier League level has undoubtedly been a challenge, but his performances for Stephen Kenny's Ireland team show huge promise. He is determined to use his tough experiences with Southampton this season to propel himself forward, as evidenced by his recent interview with Sky Sports.
🗣️ "It's been about learning how to get back up."
Southampton goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu outlines what you can gain from having a difficult season pic.twitter.com/4kBsiKed5c
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) May 10, 2023
Bazunu acknowledged that the lack of experience in the Southampton squad had contributed to their struggles in the Premier League this season, while saying that they had also been unlucky in certain games - citing the recent high-scoring games at Nottingham Forest and Arsenal as examples.
He went on to say that the players who make it to the top are those who can use the disappointment in their careers to push on and improve, and said he has every intention of continuing to learn from his and the team's mistakes this season:
We've got a very young squad, which can make it difficult. A lot of players are playing at this level for the first time - including myself.
We've come on the wrong side of results at times, like you mentioned with Forest and with Arsenal, having really good performances and just not picking up the points we needed.
Football is full of disappointments and the ones at the top are the ones who've experienced that disappointment and been able to fight back and get up off the ground after they've been knocked down.
That's what this season has constantly been - it's been about learning to get back up, about how to be resilient, about how to bounce back after the defeats, after poor performances, and somehow keep that level of confidence.
I think, for me, that's probably the biggest thing I've learned this season. No matter what happens, you've always got the next game and you've got to continue to fight and work towards that.
There's a bright future ahead for Gavin Bazunu, and his recent comments show that his mindframe will set him up well in the years to come.