Toby Alderweireld may have been deemed surplus to requirements at Atletico Madrid, but he is determined to establish himself in the starting line-up at Southampton.
The Belgium international defender joined the Spanish club from Ajax last summer amid much hype and expectation.
Rated as a promising and versatile player who can play both in central defence and at right-back, the 25-year-old struggled to make a massive impact in the Spanish capital under Diego Simeone last season.
True, Alderweireld eventually ended up with a La Liga winners’ medal and a Champions League runners-up medal, but Atletico would have succeeded even without him.
Alderweireld, who played for Belgium at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, could start just 10 league matches and three Champions League fixtures for Atletico last summer.
However, the former Ajax star is now determined to establish himself as a first-choice under Ronald Koeman at Southampton, having joined the Premier League club on a season-long loan deal on transfer deadline day.
‘I hope to accrue games weekly in a top competition like the Premier League’, Sky Sports quotes him as saying. ‘Not that I have bad memories of my first year at Atletico, I became more mature and could play in the Champions League, but in the centre of defence, the team was already there from the year before, so it was difficult for me to get into it. Atletico understood that I wanted a year away’.
Alderweireld has yet to make his debut for Southampton and is not guaranteed playing time at the Saints.
However, given his talent and experience, there is every reason to believe that the Belgian can earn a regular first-team place in the new-look Southampton side which has undergone some major squad changes in the summer.