After rehabbing a season-ending injury back home in Uruguay with Nacional, Sebastián Coates managed to achieve the goal he set for himself last fall when he was named to his country's World Cup squad. His next goal? To earn regular minutes somewhere in England, and he isn't particularly fussed how it happens.
"It is hard to play every so often, knowing that in the few games you get you have to do everything well," Coates said in a really lovely interview with The Guardian. "It's a challenge for me to play weekly and show that I'm a good player. I've not really had the opportunity until now.
"I told Liverpool that I want to play and if I don't have the chance there, it would make sense to look for another way. I wouldn't mind being loaned and continuing to play in the Premier League. I'd like to play in England, I want to carry on playing for Uruguay and I think it's important that I maintain a good rhythm of games coming off the back of the injury."
It's positive that in spite of everything he's gone through on Merseyside, he still sees a future for himself at Liverpool. That he's open to a loan rather than an outright sale to another club is telling, and speaks to the close relationships he's built since his arrival, especially with Luis Suarez. This understanding between teammates is something Coates thinks will come into play for both teams when Uruguay face England on Thursday afternoon.
"Sometimes it's helpful to have players who play together for their club and England could set up like Liverpool," Coates said. "Let's hope it doesn't have the same result. [Raheem] Sterling is extremely quick, he goes outside defenders, takes them on, makes things happen and looks to put the ball in the box. [Daniel] Sturridge is similar to Luis [Suarez]: he's always looking to score, always trying to force the mistake and take advantage. He has a lot of technical ability and when he's one-on-one it is difficult to stop him.
"They have two of the three [top forwards] but hopefully Luis can show that we have the best of the three. He never gives up a single ball for lost, he chases everything. It doesn't matter if the team is winning or losing, he always wants more. He has really exploded this year but he has always scored a lot of goals – at Ajax, for example. His injury was a pity but he has worked hard to get fit. For me, he is one of the three best players in the world."
The whole interview is worth a read for other Seba goodies, from the statistically likely but still sentimental port from which his Scottish ancestors sailed to Uruguay, to the importance of the World Cup in his home country. He's a player who clearly hasn't given up hope on his Premier League career, and having checked of two other goals on his to do list — get fit and get to the World Cup — why should he?