He had played every minute of Boro's season up to that point - a major achievement for a man who previously had only five senior starts to his name.
However, his form was such that he was in the side on merit until Southgate decided the time was right to give him a well-earned breather and restore Chris Riggott.
But now that he has won back his place, the Redcar-born youngster is determined to hang on to it.
He told the club's official website: "I was sad to be out of the team, but on the other hand, I did need a rest.
"I had not played nine games in that short space of time in my life before, so it was good to have a nice rest.
"Hopefully I can stay in the team now."