Ralph Hasenhuttl has described Jan Bednarek as the "perfect role model" for what Southampton are looking to achieve after the defender committed his future to the club.
The 24-year-old Poland international, who has started all of Saints' top-flight matches this season, signed a four-and-a-half-year deal this week that ties him to Southampton until the summer of 2025.
Hasenhuttl says the former Lech Poznan centre-back has been a key player throughout the Austrian's two-year tenure at St Mary's – and feels there is much more to come as well.
"I must say that he was, from the first moment I was here, a very important centre-back for me and for my game because it brings a few habits, a few qualities, that are definitely good for my game," the Southampton manager said.
"He's very professional, he is open minded and he likes to learn new things and I think he's in the right place and moment where he can work on his potential.
"He has a lot of potential I think, we all know he's still a young player for us and the perfect role model I think for what we want to do here.
"I see his development in every part of his game. This is the next signal for people, they think that something is growing here and the players are invited to stay, if they want to."
Bednarek has become the latest to commit to Southampton with team-mates James Ward-Prowse, Oriol Romeu, Shane Long, Will Smallbone, Jake Vokins and Nathan Tella, as well as manager Hasenhuttl, having all signed new deals since the summer.
It is that sort of continuity which Hasenhuttl hopes will show potential new recruits and young players that Southampton are a club heading in the right direction – not to mention producing on-field success as well.
Southampton are currently sixth in the Premier League standings, just four points adrift of leaders Tottenham, and will be looking to strengthen their lofty position in the table when they travel to Brighton on Monday.
Hasenhuttl said: "We know that we have our limits as a club but we know that we can still be successful if we have a good core and around this core we can build as a team.
"And we have a few more players we would really like to sign. This is not a surprise, that we want to sign also, and I think every player that signs it's a good message for him – we are committed to this club and we want to build something up here.
"I think when we have this core it's right and we can build around it – also with young players, and see that we don't need the big names signing all the time. We can also be there with players that we bring up and that we bring to the next level and make for a lot of players the right spot to be."