Saints star wants to make a habit of playing international football

Southampton's Jose Fonte says that he is aiming to become a permanent part of the Portugal squad.

Jose Fonte says that he is hoping to establish himself as a permanent member of the Portugal squad after being handed his first call-up this week.

The Southampton defender's form over the early part of the season for the South Coast club was enough to earn international recognition and it has left him wanting more.

"I intend to take it with both hands and make it a habit of representing my country," Fonte said to BBC Sport. 

Fonte had been continually overlooked by former Portugal Paulo Bento, but after he was sacked he has made the squad immediately.

New manager Fernando Santos has shown his faith in the Saints centre-back by picking him for his first squad, and Fonte could be in line for his first start on Saturday against France.

It is a clash against another top nation in European qualifying for the side and should be a tough test for them, but Fonte says he will thrive off the opportunity of representing his nation.

"We had a change of manager and he gave me a great opportunity and honour of representing my country," he explained. "I'm going to give it my best and make everyone proud of me.

"I waited a long time, but I never gave up, that's not part of me. I worked hard trying to be a better player and improve, and at 30, I've managed to get in the squad.

'That gives me a few years in the national team if I keep performing, so I'm going to keep pushing hard and improving,"

If he is to play, then it would cap off a rapid ascent for the 30-year-old defender.

The commanding centre-back has travelled up the leagues with Southampton and he could face off against another player who represented the club in their League One days in Morgan Scheiderlin, who is in the France squad. 

"It's a great story for both of us," he said. "We started in League One and now we are going to meet each other for our countries."

Southampton will be hoping that both players come through the match unscathed as they look to regain their focus in the Premier League next week.

The club take on Sunderland and they will be looking to build on their impressive start. 

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