Bertrand eager to maintain progress

Published: Friday 5th June 2015 by The News Editor

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Ryan Bertrand is reaping the benefits of a stable club career, with the Southampton left-back looking to cap a memorable campaign with more playing time for England.

After winning the Champions League and spending time on loan at seven different clubs, the 25-year-old permanently left Chelsea earlier this year in search of regular first-team football.

Southampton paid £10million to sign Bertrand in the midst of a season-long loan and the full-back continued to play an important role in the club’s best-ever Premier League season.

Those displays led to an England recall and a place in a PFA Team of the Year defence comprised of former Chelsea team-mates John Terry, Gary Cahill and Branislav Ivanovic.

“Personally, to get voted in the Team of the Year by your peers is one of the highest accolades you can get,” Bertrand said.

“It was a fantastic honour to get in there and on a personal note it reminded me that I am making good progress.

“I had great self-belief (when I left Chelsea). To have gone through the things I have been through, and learnt under the managers I have, I had massive self-belief I could do it.

“I had quiet confidence but knew it was about getting the stability and getting in a team that plays the right way for my type of play. I was sure I was capable of taking care of the rest.”

Bertrand’s resurgence on the south coast recently brought with it a first England appearance in two and a half years.

The full-back came off the bench late in March’s friendly trip to Italy and now he is hoping to play his part in the upcoming matches in Ireland and Slovenia.

“I never gave up,” Bertrand said of the wait for his third England cap.

“I thought personally it was about getting that consistency, playing time and playing at a really high level for a sustained period.

“I was positive if I could achieve that an England cap would come.

“For me personally, to finish the season being selected for the last two internationals is a highlight of mine. If I get playing time and more caps, I will be more than happy.”

A lack of first-team football is not the only thing to have hampered Bertrand, with England’s strength in depth at left-back another issue.

Bertrand has certainly staked his claim, though, and believes the success of Saints team-mate Nathaniel Clyne on the opposite flank has spurred him on.

“He has been fantastic for us this season,” Bertrand said of the England right-back.

“As a player, it is brilliant and fills you with confidence if you see your fellow full-back marauding down the right side. That makes you want to go marauding down the left side.

“We spur each other on. If he gets a cross in, I want to get a cross in. If he is blocking crosses, I need to be blocking crosses too. We need to be working together in that sense.”

Clyne has won four caps since making his debut at home to Slovenia in November, with his performance in the win against Scotland a few days later further enhancing his reputation.

A similarly hostile welcome awaits in Ireland on Sunday as they travel to Dublin for the first time in 20 years – a match Bertrand knows is only friendly by name.

“It will be a very competitive game,” he added. “They are two sides that want to go out to win and it will be more than just a friendly.

“We want to keep our good form going. In the campaign we have a 100 per cent record and we want to keep that going.”

Published: Friday 5th June 2015 by The News Editor

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