Liverpool defender Sebastian Coates has not given up hope of making Uruguay’s World Cup squad, despite being out for most of the season.
The Reds’ forgotten centre-back has not featured for the club since coming on as a late substitute on the final day of the campaign in May.
It looked like he would be on his way out of Anfield, as he was so infrequently used by manager Brendan Rodgers, but a knee injury while on international duty in August meant he faced a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
However, the thought of having a chance to make Uruguay’s squad for Brazil next summer is spurring him on.
“I’m making progress, slowly but surely. It’s been going very well,” he said.
“It’s a long recovery process for this injury and I think it’s more about how you are psychologically in your head and trying to keep positive in order to be able to get back to full fitness as quickly as possible.
“You always think positively - I think that’s the most important thing.
“In my case, I keep myself going by focusing on getting back as quickly as I can, and with the national team, the World Cup is another goal to help me with my recovery.”
Team-mate for club and country Luis Suarez scored in last weekend’s Merseyside derby to make it nine goals in seven league appearances since his return from suspension.
Coates understandably rates his compatriot highly.
“In my opinion he’s in the world’s top three players,” he told liverpoolfc.com.
“Certainly when it comes to attacking players, he’s up there with the best.
“He’s in some great form at the moment and let’s hope it continues as he’s very important, not just for his goalscoring but also for his overall contribution to the team.”