Moises Caicedo believes his loan spell in Belgium earlier this season played a big part in helping him settle into the Premier League.
The 20-year-old Ecuadorian midfielder spent the first half of the season with Beerschot before returning to Albion in January. He made his Premier League debut in the 2-1 win over Arsenal in April and remained in the side for the remainder of the season, scoring his first goal in the 4-0 victory against Manchester United last month.
Beerschot had a troubled season and ended up being relegated but Caicedo, who played 12 games, said the experience of playing regular first-team football was important for his development.
“The truth is I feel it helped me to go there and gain experience,” he said. “I knew there were a lot of players here at Brighton who were playing so it would be very difficult to play. I was training well but I thought it was perhaps better to go and get more minutes, so I think going there helped me a lot.
“I got a lot of rhythm, which also helped me with the national team. If I had stayed here, there was very little probability that I would play because there are lot of good players here.”
Ecuador team-mate Jeremy Sarmiento has also been instrumental in helping Moises settle into life in Sussex.
“I understand English but not really well, so he helps me with translation when I don’t understand. That’s very good for me because I can catch understand things on and off the pitch. I feel very good in these last few months because I am playing, I’m helping the team, I’m bringing something and I’m very happy with how the season is ending.”
Both players will be on duty for Ecuador this week. They helped La Tri reach this year’s World Cup finals during the last international break, and they will be hoping for more minutes when they play Mexico in Chicago on Monday and Cape Verde next Sunday in Florida.