Southampton forward Dan N’Lundulu knows a very different side of football, on loan at Lincoln City.
The 22-year-old striker made 12 Premier League appearances for the Saints last season – all from the bench – but, after learning he would be on loan this season, he ended up at Sincil Bank where it is hoped that he can establish himself as a senior footballer.
His loan transfer was seen as a win-win for Southampton, with the new season approaching with N’Lundulu keen to step out and experience first-team football.
His exit will also allow players like Sam Bellis, Ramello Mitchell, Luke Pearce and Dom Ballard, all waiting behind the scenes, the chance to step up and represent the Under-23s.
Although the club have told fans their youngster will no longer be on loan, N’Lundulu will not be the last to be sent to experience first-team football with a number of members of the current Under-23 squad. years eager to follow in his footsteps.
And, after a battle with injuries early in the season, the striker is now enjoying his first round of senior football at Ligue 1 level.
“It’s very, very different,” he told our title sister, LincolnshireLive.
“In Southampton, we got a taste of it in the EFL Trophy. Most of the time, the Premier League and Championship sides are beaten by teams from League One, but for the Under-23s these are the best games of the season.
“It’s very physical, very demanding. It’s more like adult football, more realistic football.
“Under-23 football is not the real world, it’s like you’re in a little bubble,” he said.
“When you play in League One, Championship or Premier League, it’s real football. It is a good step and a big step forward.