He has captained Premier League superstars Luke Shaw and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and now Sutton United new boy Lloyd Foot is using them as inspiration to hit the big time.

Foot, 21, was skipper of the Southampton U21s side that also produced Callum Chambers and James Ward-Prowse, and the defender was tipped to be latest off the Saints conveyor belt of academy talent.

However, he was instead released into the football wilderness in 2011 as an 18-year-old and has been trying to get his way back ever since.

After stints in Sweden, at Eastleigh and Andover, as well as a trial at Oxford United, Foot has signed a short-term contract at the Lane to rediscover his fitness and emulate his illustrious friends.

“Paul [Doswell] invited me down for training at the end of last season and I impressed him, so he invited me back for pre-season,” he said.

“I’ve tried to get myself really sharp and from there I’ve shown that my attitude was spot on and he’s decided to take me on.”

The versatile defender cum midfielder added: “It’s a very professionally run club, and that is what drew me to stay here because I had offers elsewhere.

“I am really enjoying it, and I am sure they will get me back to where I want to be – so Sutton is the right club for me.”

Despite watching his friends from St Mary’s go on to play at the very top level, Foot, pictured, is far from jealous.

He said: “Funnily enough I was the captain of every player who has been sold for big money – Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers, the Ox, James Ward-Prowse.

“But I don’t see them as footballers, they are just my mates. It is a bit strange for me, but we still talk and text a lot, and we all go on holiday together.

“I am aspiring to be where they are, I need to get sharper and fitter – they are an inspiration to me.”