Jeremy Sarmiento is in a positive mood ahead of his second season here after impressing for Ecuador over the summer.
The 20-year-old is hoping to represent La Tri in just their third World Cup when the tournament kicks off this November, and he did his chances of selection no harm during last month’s mini-tour of the United States.
Alongside Moises Caicedo, Sarmiento featured in a 0-0 draw against Nigeria and 1-0 wins against Cape Verde and Mexico – who will also be in Qatar this winter.
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“It’s been a good summer and an absolute pleasure to represent my country again,” said Sarmiento.
“With the injuries I had last season, it’s really good that I have my country’s confidence and the confidence of my coach [Gustavo Alfaro]. He’s stuck with me through everything.
“To go to America and get more minutes after coming back from injury is really good for me. All the hard work I have done here in Brighton has paid off, and I’m now gradually getting closer to my objective of being fully fit and making more appearances.
“I’m really happy and I want to kick on now for my country and at Brighton.”
There was huge excitement in Ecuador when Alfaro’s side qualified for Qatar 2022 back in February, and that excitement is shared by Sarmiento – but the South Americans are not there to just make up the numbers.
Despite being ranked 53rd in the world, they boast a selection of exciting young talent alongside Jeremy and Moises who also play their football in Europe, and impressed during their early World Cup preparations in the US.
“We’ve qualified for the World Cup now which was an amazing feeling, but our heads are in the game again and we’re already fully focused on doing well in Qatar.
“We want to go there and show the world what we can do, show them that our country could be a stand-out team.
“We’ve got a strong squad with a good mix of players, and a great coach. Nobody will expect us to go far but I have really high hopes for my country.”
Sarmiento’s positivity is great to see following an up-and-down first season on the south coast which promised so much but was impacted by injuries.
Seguimos FUERTES! Gracias por el apoyo 🙏🏽❤️ pic.twitter.com/jwE4E9uYtp— Jeremy Sarmiento (@jeremysarm7ento) June 3, 2022
Just 12 minutes into his full Premier League debut, the winger picked up a hamstring injury against West Ham which kept him out for four months, but he’s fit again and wants to kick on in 2022/23.
“Last season was a strange one. It was amazing to make my Premier League debut but it was also a frustrating time picking up my injuries. I was just getting started.
“But these things happen and I was just unlucky. I had to quickly move on and focus hard on getting back to fitness and getting back out on the pitch. By the end of the season I gradually got more minutes, and now we’re looking to keep that going.
“I just need to take things slowly. I want to be at 100% as soon as possible and when my chance comes, I’ll definitely be ready.”