NEW signing Ondrej Celustka hopes that his season at Sunderland will help propel him to senior international honours.
The 24-year-old right-back was a regular at Under 21 level for the Czech Republic, making 18 appearances for the junior side but has yet to make his mark for the full international team.
Now he is hoping that the greater prominence and bigger platform of the English Premier League might just change that.
“I hope if I play here I will have a big chance to play in the national team,” he said in the wake of completing a season-long loan from Turkish outfit Trabzonspor yesterday.
“This could be a big chance for me.
“I have only played for the Under 21s, I have never played in the senior team, so I’m hoping this move can be good for me.”
Celustka, who has every chance of debuting against Fulham this weekend, gave his interview in broken English though he is hoping to become fluent in his new country in the months ahead.
He already speaks decent Italian after a loan spell at Palermo in 2010 and believes that will be beneficial when it comes to head coach Paolo Di Canio at least.
“It may be good for me that he is from Italy because I played there and I can speak with him,” said the Czech.
“I do not say that I know all the Italian words but I will be able to say a few things to him in Italian.
“I think he will be a good motivator.
“From the first minute I saw him, I thought he would be a very professional coach.”
For the moment, the defender is just glad to be at Sunderland and excited about the challenge ahead.
“I am happy to be here and I hope we will be successful,” he said. “I will do the maximum I can for the team.
“It is big motivation for me of course – I think it is the best league in the world and a lot of people are watching this league.
“Of course, I would like to show the best of myself but I would like to be a good team player.
“Sunderland is a special club with great facilities.
“I have been in Italy and in Turkey but this is a bit special. I have enjoyed playing on the training pitch, it is perfect for what you need to do.”
The 6ft 1ns defender’s biggest assets are his pace and technique and he is hoping to put both to good effect as Paolo Di Canio looks to produce a side in which attacking full-backs will have an important role to play.
Velez Sarsfield’s Gino Peruzzi was tipped to take on that job for the Black Cats before the Argentine right-back failed a medical on Wearside late last month.
But Peruzzi’s loss has been Celustka’s gain and he arrives at Sunderland from Turkey knowing that if he performs well next season there is every chance that the loan deal could be converted into a permanent move.