BEN Davies admits his breakthrough season has been "manic" — but the Swansea City starlet is revelling in his remarkable rise.
The 19-year-old left-back was thrust into the Swans' first team in September after Neil Taylor was ruled out for the entire campaign with a broken ankle.
Davies had only made his debut as a substitute against West Ham a week earlier, yet he then won his first Wales cap with a full 90 minutes in the 2-1 win over Scotland last month.
"It's a bit manic how much things have changed but it all comes from hard work," said Davies.
"I've been given my chance and I feel like I've taken it, but there's still a long way to go."
Davies produced one of the best performances of his burgeoning career in the 1-1 draw against Chelsea last Saturday.
Defensively solid when confronted by the European champions' glittering array of stars and adventurous in attack, the Swansea youth product looked at ease in the heat of a Premier League battle.
Swansea's fans even chanted Davies's name at one point, though the player is mindful of not getting carried away.
"It's great to hear something like that from the fans and it's testament to my performances — but I've got to keep my feet on the ground," he added.
"I have to keep working hard every day. The more I work, the better I'll become.
"It gives me a lot of confidence to come up against some of the best players in the world."
After Dwight Tiendalli played at left-back in last week's 3-1 Capital One Cup victory over Liverpool, Michael Laudrup might have been tempted to keep the more experienced Dutch defender in the side to face Chelsea.
But the Swansea boss recalled Davies, and the local lad was grateful for another chance to prove his worth.
"It's great to have the manager showing faith in me in games like Chelsea," he said.
"Him putting me in the starting line-up gives me a great boost.
"It always takes a few games to get used to the speed of things, but I do feel more confident out on the field.
"I get to break forward because of the way we play. All I can do is work hard on that part of my game as well my defensive duties."
Swansea's next opponents, Southampton, may not be able to match the grandeur of Chelsea, Liverpool or Manchester City, but Laudrup has described Saturday's game at St Mary's as more important than last weekend's match against the European champions.
Swansea's 1-1 draw with Chelsea was ample proof of their ability to compete with the Premier League's behemoths, and Davies believes that display bodes well for their trip to the South Coast.
"We stood up to Chelsea and I don't think we looked out of place against them," he said.
"Getting anything from games like that is a bonus because we don't necessarily go into games against top-five sides expecting to get any points.
"To get a point says a lot about us as a team and gives us a lot of confidence going into next weekend's game."