Aaron Connolly wants to show how much he appreciates the faith shown in him by Graham Potter by being one of his key players next season.

The Irishman was given his Premier League chance last season and scored three times in 24 appearances. The 20-year-old was rewarded with a new four-year contract last week.

Connolly told the club’s website: “The gaffer trusts me – he said ‘I don’t expect you to come in and score 15 or 20 goals’. He has been really good with me. Without the faith I don’t think I would be as confident.

“I wouldn’t have got the goal against Burnley [in the final game of the season].

“He has taught me a lot this season and it’s about paying him back with goals and performances next year.”

The signing of Adam Lallana is a huge boost to the squad according to Connolly, who feels it is further evidence that the club is heading in the right direction.

He added: “It shows the kind of player we can attract and convince that Brighton is the best place to play.

“Adam Lallana is a big, big player – he’s just won the league, he’s been involved in Champions League winning squads.

“I’m sure he will help the young players like myself, Steven [Alzate] and Tariq [Lamptey] a lot. But he will be able to help the whole team because of his experience and quality, we know what he can produce.”

Maintaining their Premier League place will be Albion’s first aim when the new season kicks off on September 12, but Connolly believes they should aim higher than that.

“The initial target will be staying in the league, but with the players we have got and are bringing in I don’t think a top half or top 12 finish is out of the question – we’re definitely good enough and we have got a manager and coaching staff good enough to help us achieve that.

“Success for me personally would be putting in performances and scoring goals. I have got a target but I am not going to say what it is!

“I am really looking forward to getting going next season.”

Last month, Connolly and Steven Alzate have signed new deals at Brighton and Hove Albion until the summer of 2024.

The pair both enjoyed breakthrough seasons under Graham Potter and have agreed to commit their long-term futures to the Seagulls.

Forward Aaron Connolly made 27 appearances and scored three Premier League goals, while midfielder Alzate started 11 times for Brighton and was rewarded with his first caps for Colombia.

Connolly also received his full debut for the Republic of Ireland and heaped praise on Potter for putting his faith in younger players after a promising first full season.

He said: “It’s fantastic the club have given me this kind of security because it means I can push on now for the next four years. It will help me relax and enjoy my football even more. This season has been unbelievable at times and obviously the Tottenham game when I scored twice was a big moment for me. But then I had the dip where I didn’t get the goals which was tough to take.

“But to get one against Burnley on the final day of the season and to go into the break knowing I have scored another goal since Spurs was a great feeling. I am just looking forward improving even more next season.”