Ryan Bertrand is keen to stake his claim for a run at left-back for England during his country’s concluding Euro 2016 qualifiers.
Roy Hodgson’s men have already secured their place in the finals, meaning the injury absence of first-choice left-backs Leighton Baines and Luke Shaw is not a cause for major concern ahead of matches against Estonia and Lithuania.
It provides the opportunity for Southampton’s Bertrand, who himself underwent minor surgery on both knees during the close season, with an opportunity to impress in a position where England are yet to find a settled solution since Ashley Cole’s international retirement ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
“It is up for grabs,” said Bertrand, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
“Even with everyone fit, to be honest, no-one’s nailed it down. It’s not that now people have got a chance because certain people are injured. Everyone was in contention at the start.
“It’s about who really goes in there and grabs it by the scruff of the neck and make it their own. Hopefully it can be me.
“It’s a good start to be called up. Hopefully I can go in, concentrate on my football and let it takes it course.”
Bertrand has four England caps to his name and made a maiden start for his country in the June friendly against the Republic of Ireland.
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman believes the player has returned to top form during back-to-back wins over Swansea City and former club Chelsea, and the Dutchman offered a ringing endorsement of Bertrand’s qualities.
“He is one of the best and he can be the best,”Koeman said. “He defends well, and offensively he is very strong, with a good cross and good passing.
“But he’s still young and still has to improve. He has been three months out and didn’t have a good pre-season.
“Against Swansea and Chelsea it has been impressive to see how he has played and how fresh a player can be without any pre-season. That’s difficult but very good, very good.”