Slovakian international defender Martin Skrtel considered his options in the summer.
The former Zenit Saint Petersburg defender adorns a number of tattoos, has survived four Russian winters and had his head stapled on the side-lines, yet the Liverpool hardman has admitted he felt sad during the summer.
Following Skrtel’s lack of a minutes on the pitch towards the end of last season, the big central defender confessed he was told to consider his options.
Despite Skrtel’s future being uncertain, the 2012 Liverpool player of the season remained upbeat and mainted a desire to prove to his doubters that he was still the man to lead Liverpool at the back.
In an exclusive interview at the Barclay’s community event, Skrtel said of his summer:
“I think I do have that fight as part of my personality. I think it made me stronger,” he added.
“In the pre-season, I told myself, ‘C’mon, stay, just fight for your place and show you can play. It was something I wanted to do, and was prepared to fight for, and now I’m in the team.”
“I just try to work hard to show every single person I am capable of starting a game for Liverpool. Of course it looked bad – we signed three new centre backs, so there were a lot of rumours.”
Liverpool’s new singings included former Manchester City defender Koko Toure and arguably more impressive was the capture of French international Mamadou Sakho.
For Liverpool’s opening games of the season, Kolo Toure partnered Daniel Agger at the heart of Liverpool’s defence, leaving Skrtel left out on the side-lines. Yet following an injury to Toure, Martin Skrtel was recalled to the side – a moment which he said saved his Liverpool career:
“I waited for a chance and the crucial game was against Manchester United. I got the shout and I knew it was a real big game for me. I knew I could show something in that game – I was man of the match and afterwards I kept my place.”
Despite being just three games into the season, it ultimately altered Liverpool’s season and Skrtel's career as he has gone on to become one of the Red’s most consistent performers this season.
image: © etyek