Southampton stalwart 'extremely happy and proud' with first international call-up

Portugal 2012 National Team

Southampton stalwart Jose Fonte has been called up to the Portugal national team for the first time in his career at 30-years-old.

This week Southampton have been celebrating some impressive looking international call-ups. The club have made a habit of this in recent times, but when the likes of Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, Rickie Lambert and Dejan Lovren all left the club it looked as though those numbers were diminished.

But their form has remained superb under Ronald Koeman and two of their unsung heroes have now been recognised for their performances.

Nathaniel Clyne has received his first international call-up for the England senior side, while Jose Fonte has finally been recognised by Portugal for his performances.

Fonte is a Southampton original. Snapped up from Crystal Palace by Alan Pardew in 2010. He has been with the club since, helping them rise from League One to the Premier League along the way.

Other than a solitary under-21 cap in 2006 Fonte has never been fully appreciated by the Portuguese set-up until now.

He is now set to potentially play a part in the friendly against France later this month and will hope to take on Denmark in a Euro 2016 qualifier.

Speaking of playing alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Fabio Coentrao and Joao Moutinho.

And he has spoken to Southampton's official website about the call-up:

"Obviously I'm extremely happy. Proud, because it is a massive honour to represent your country. It is everyone's dream it is every player's dream. I have worked very hard for this for a long time. I got the opportunity and now the real work starts because I want to keep my place in the squad.

"Today when we were training the gaffer came over to me and said 'congratulations, by the way' and then I knew that I was in the squad. I'm over the moon. But we have a game Sunday and I have to focus on that right now."

Classic captain Fonte, never taking his eye off the ball - which this week is a reunion with former coach Mauricio Pochettino.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch