Belfast Telegraph

Caulker out to prove himself

Steven Caulker wants to prove himself at Southampton after suffering back-to-back Premier League relegations with Cardiff and QPR.

A graduate of Tottenham's academy, the 23-year-old joined Saints on a season-long loan on Wednesday as the club attempts to fill the void left by Toby Alderweireld's exit and a serious knee injury to Florin Gardos.

Southampton are not understood to have a buy-out option as part of deal for which they paid a "substantial undisclosed loan fee", according to parent club QPR.

Caulker failed to impress after moving to Loftus Road last summer in a £8million deal - a similar fee to that forked out by Cardiff in 2013.

Both of those campaigns ended in relegation from the top flight and the England international is determined to have a better season at St Mary's.

"I'm very pleased and very excited," Caulker said. "This club has done fantastically well, especially over the last two years.

"To now join this club and to be a part of it for this year is something I'm proud of.

"As soon as I got the phone call to say a fee was agreed with Southampton, I was delighted to get the opportunity to come and play under a great manager.

"This club is an ambitious one, so to be part of this is a great opportunity - it's a chance for me to prove myself. I'm very excited for the season ahead."

Caulker is unavailable for Thursday's Europa League third qualifying round clash with Vitesse Arnhem, ahead of which Ronald Koeman spoke of his delight at bringing the centre-back to Southampton.

"I am very pleased," the Saints manager said. "I think we bring in a good player, a good defender, who makes already his debut for the national team. He's still a young player, 23 years old.

"It's a good opportunity for the player and we need more competition in the centre-back position and that's very good news.

"I had a talk to Steven this morning and we are looking forward to working together and to be part of the Southampton family is a great opportunity for the player and he will show that."


From Belfast Telegraph