Cuco Martina believes he has made big strides with Southampton since arriving at St Mary’s in the summer from FC Twente.
The Curacao international has made 12 appearances in all competitions this season as he battles for a starting spot with fellow summer signing Cédric at right-back.
The defender, who scored a stunning goal in Saints’ 4-0 win against Arsenal on Boxing Day, has started the previous two games, and says he’s starting to see a big difference.
“When I first came to the club it was a little bit difficult for me, but the players really helped me,” Martina told youtube.com/southamptonfc.
“They taught me a lot and the coaches did also. I think I can see a big difference now to when I first joined the club.
“I always knew my qualities, and I think you see a big difference from before to now. I feel more confident when I’m out on the pitch.”
After a run out of the side, as manager Ronald Koeman opted for a 3-5-2 formation on a number of occasions after Christmas, the defender has been restored to the team for games against Sunderland and Stoke City.
While he’s delighted to be back in the starting line-up, he won’t be resting on his laurels any time soon.
“It has been great to be back in the side. I waited about ten games on the bench and it was a difficult time, but the coach gave me my chance again,” Martina added.
“I think from my performances I’ve done well. You need to play well because if you don’t the competition can come in and play good if they get the chance.
“You need to be sharp and work harder and harder. If you’re on the bench you’re thinking about how you can come back into the team.
“When you’re playing, you are training for the games and to be ready. Everyone is working hard.”