Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Ronald Koeman hails Ryan Bertrand after full-back receives England call-up

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman has backed Ryan Bertrand to take his chance with England.

The 26-year-old defender has been drafted into the Three Lions squad for the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers against Estonia and Lithuania.

Bertrand now has an opportunity to stake his claim for the left-back slot after Manchester United's Luke Shaw broke his leg in two places against PSV Eindhoven last month.

Koeman admits the call-up came as a bit of a surprise given Bertrand only played his first 90 minutes of the season against Swansea last Saturday following a spell out injured.

But the Dutchman, who said Bertrand was the best player on the pitch following the 3-1 win at St Mary's, insists he has the quality to shine on the international stage.

"Was it a surprise? A little bit because of course it's very fast after the first time playing 90 minutes," said Koeman at his pre-match press conference.

"But I was also surprised about the level Ryan was at already last week.

"Maybe a little influence is some injuries to different players in that position but w e know if Ryan is back and playing on his level then he's one of the national team.

"That's good for the player, the confidence of the player and it's good for Southampton.

"Already he's a good player in my opinion because it's always a difficult position.

"You don't have really very good left full-backs and the qualities of Ryan are important in our way of playing.

"I like to play with offensive left and offensive right full-backs. He's on that level that we are happy he is a Southampton player."

Bertrand is set to start against his former club Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, while Jordy Clasie could be added to the squad.

The Dutch midfielder, a summer signing from Feyenoord, has yet to play in the Premier League this season due an ankle injury but is now back in training.

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting?


From Belfast Telegraph