Chelsea defender Ryan Bertrand has revealed that his ambitions to break into Roy Hodgson’s England plans were a factor in moving on loan to Southampton.
Having signed from Gillingham in 2005, aged 16, Bertrand has made 56 appearances for Chelsea since 2011, including starting in the 2012 Champions League final win, but his path to regular first-team football has continued to be blocked at left-back.
Spending the second-half of last season at Aston Villa, after past spells at Bournemouth, Oldham Athletic, Norwich, Reading and Nottingham Forest, the £16 million summer signing of Filipe Luis saw manager Jose Mourinho allow him to move a season-long loan to the Saints, where he has since started all nine league games under Ronald Koeman.
With talk of a future Three Lions call-up growing with each appearance, Bertrand admits that his progress was being hampered at Stamford Bridge, but refuses to be drawn on whether he still has a future in north London at this point.
‘That is a subject we can discuss at the end of this season,’ he told ESPN FC. ‘I've got used to going out on loan over the last few years and I like what I have seen at Southampton.
‘It is a real family club and one of the things that strikes me here is the transparency and honesty. If you have a thought on how things can be improved, you are free to air it. That is great to see and it is helping the spirit in our dressing room.
‘I would like to think I have chances of getting England call-ups if I'm playing regular Premier League football in a successful team and that is what we have at Southampton.
‘It is difficult to catch the eye of an England manager if you are not playing at a big club like Chelsea.’
Bertrand, 25, also spoke in glowing terms of new boss Koeman, who he believes has helped him grown as a footballer after just a few months on the south coast.
‘He is a great man manager,’ he said. ‘He speaks to each player and gives them a clear vision of what he wants from them and there is no doubt he has an aura about him.
‘The boss had a fantastic career as a player and when he speaks, people want to listen and learn from his experience.’