JACK Stephens is keen to impress Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl in Maya Yoshida’s absence.

Yoshida is away with Japan at the Asian Cup and Stephens has been selected to fill the 30-year-old’s boots.

The young defender was picked for the last two matches against Leicester and Derby which has given him a taste for more.

Stephens said: “It was a chance for me against Leicester as that was the first game Maya was away for. It was an opportunity for me to stake my claim in the team and it’s important everyone feels their worth in this squad.

“That’s what the gaffer is doing so far, he is making sure everyone is important. When you get your chance, you have got to do your best and take it.

“There are never guarantees because it’s up to the manager to decide from what he sees on a day-to-day basis.

“It was a great result against Leicester and a good start for me personally.”

Hasenhuttl has revolutionised the way Saints play in just six weeks. The Austrian’s demands are well documented, and he has no qualms about outing a player in public for a poor performance.

Fellow defender Wesley Hoedt, goalkeeper Fraser Forster and the departed Manolo Gabbiadini have all failed to make the cut. This management style has led to Stephens tailoring his game accordingly.

“Everyone’s got their own style and it’s important that when a new manager comes in you try and adapt to what he wants.

“Some managers just don’t see certain players in their plans and some players don’t fit the requirements.

“For me, it’s about showing what I can do every day in training and when I get picked for the games I need to give it my best like I have always done.

“Hopefully that’s enough to impress the manager so he keeps giving me chances.”

Saints managed to hold onto a two-goal lead at Leicester last weekend but squandered the same margin on Wednesday night against Derby in the FA Cup third round replay.

Today’s opponents, Everton, have had a dip in form after an electric start to the season under Marco Silva’s management.

But the Toffees got back to winning ways against Bournemouth in their last fixture and will be looking to build on that.

Stephens knows Saints will be in for a tough afternoon, but has urged his teammates to show the same resilience that was on display at the King Power Stadium

“It’s back to Premier League action and we had a great result last Saturday holding on with ten men,” he continued.

“We probably surprised a few people by showing that grit and determination which we haven’t had the last few months.

“To hold on in that game was great and now we need to kick on again and play Everton at home. They’ve had some great results and are doing well, so it’s going to be difficult as every game is tough.

“We need to give it our best shot.”

Defender Yan Valery is expected to return to the Saints side after picking up a suspension for two yellow cards against Leicester.

The Frenchman was sent off in the first 45 minutes to leave Hasenhuttl’s side clinging on to three points.

Stephens revealed that Valery will have to use the suspension as a learning curve, and insisted the whole team is behind him.

“He knows he’s made a couple of fouls and that’s what happens in the Premier League.

“You can have 10 minutes where you switch off and make rash decision that get you sent off.

“I’ve been there and I’m not going to hammer him, we are here to help him.

“He is a part of our team and all the lads will get round him. He knows he’s made a mistake, but he didn’t do it on purpose.

“It’s not something that we will hold against him.”