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IZQUIERDO RETURNS MOTIVATED BY WORLD CUP INCENTIVE

31 March 2018

Brighton & Hove Albion winger Jose Izquierdo is focused on maintaining his impressive form to secure a seat on Colombia’s plane to this summer’s World Cup, starting with Saturday's visit of Leicester City to the Amex Stadium.

The 25-year-old featured twice for his country during the international break, and is now determined to help the Seagulls in their quest to stay in the Premier League, with this summer’s major tournament providing further motivation.

He said, “I’m honest with myself and know that it’s hard to have a space in the national team. In my position, there are players who have played for the national team for a long time.

“It’s difficult, but I was rewarded for my performances with Brighton and I think I did well in the minutes I played [vs France and Australia].

“I’m back now and will focus on the goal to stay in the Premier League. If I can stay at the same level with goals and assists, hopefully I can stay with the national team - that would be amazing.

“In my mind, when I was a kid, I dreamed of playing in the World Cup. It’s the best scenario in football. It’s a dream.”

Izquierdo has made 25 league appearances since arriving from Club Brugge in the summer, and the winger insists he’s still learning new things every day to improve as both a person and player.

“I’ve learned a lot from the culture, games, and players that I’ve had to play against. Until now, the season has gone very well and each day we learn something new.

“Sometimes you feel like you’re in one place and every day is the same. You come in and don’t feel like you’re learning something special - but at this moment, something new happens every day.

“Everything in my life is new, and that helps me as a person. As a football player, it also helps in making better decisions on the pitch.”

Albion find themselves in 12th position with eight matches remaining, and with the Foxes visiting the south coast this weekend, Izquierdo stressed the importance of focusing on the challenge Claude Puel’s team will provide.

“I’m very happy with how we’re doing now and hopefully we can keep that level until the end of the season.

“We’re just thinking about each game. The next game is the most important. Each game brings problems and you have to find solutions.

“This weekend we have Leicester, so this is the opponent we have in mind. After that, we’ll think about the next game and then in the end, we’ll see where we finish.

Izquierdo will be looking to add to his four Premier League goals that he’s already claimed this season, and the Colombian laughed about the nature of his goals, which have arguably been some of Albion’s most eye-catching.

“My friends and team-mates also say ‘why do you never score an ugly goal?’ It’s just something that happens and I have a lot of belief in my shooting.

“If you don’t try, then it’s difficult for you to do something. You don’t have a lot of time, so it’s just natural. When I have the ball, all I have in my mind is the goal.”

Supporters can watch the midfielder's full look ahead to the game this afternoon above on Seagulls TV - fans can sign up to the service by clicking here.


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