Ryan Bertrand is determined to be ruthless and beat the likes of Luke Shaw, Leighton Baines and Kieran Gibbs to a place in England’s Euro 2016 squad.
Eyebrows were raised when the 26-year-old joined Southampton on an initial loan in July 2014, but the move worked out better than either party could have imagined.
Bertrand’s key role in helping Saints to their best-ever Premier League finish led to his inclusion in the PFA team of the year – and an England recall.
He has since started twice for his country including Friday’s qualifier against Estonia, helping Roy Hodgson’s men to a 2-0 win in the absence of the injured Shaw and Baines.
Another chance to impress may arrive in Monday’s final Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania – an opportunity Bertrand would seize given the competition to make next summer’s finals in France.
“There are a few of us in there: myself, Luke, Leighton, (Kieran) Gibbs, even (Danny) Rose and Aaron Cresswell at West Ham,” he said. “There are a lot of us vying for that place.
“It’s about putting in consistency and when we get the chance, we take it.
“I think, first and foremost, when you get here, you do want to perform well.
“But also the position is one that, at club level, is about establishing that consistency within the Premier League and then hopefully those performances are recognised.”
Bertrand, like many of his team-mates, put in a solid if unspectacular display against Estonia – perhaps no surprise given qualification had been secured with three games to spare.
However, the left-back’s display was more impressive than most given it was just his third start of the campaign, having undergone surgery on problematic knee tendons during the close-season.
“It’s good to be back playing, having been injured over the summer,” he said.
“This is my third game back (on Friday) so the lungs are feeling it. I need to ease myself in and be sensible.
“The operation was something I had planned from January onwards. It was killing me, to be honest.
“It was something I wanted to get done as soon as possible, so I could limit the amount of games that I would miss, rather miss than December or January times, which we all know is a very important period in the Premier League.”
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