Jose Fonte: Southampton captain vows to take Portugal chance

Jose Fonte
Fonte joined Southampton from Crystal Palace in January 2010, having begun his career at Benfica

Southampton captain Jose Fonte says he intends to become a regular for his country as he prepares for a possible debut for Portugal.

Fonte, 30, joined Saints in 2010 when they were in League One, and helped them rise through the divisions to a best Premier League finish last season.

And he could make his international debut against France on Saturday.

"I intend to take it with both hands and make it a habit of representing my country," Fonte told BBC Radio Solent.

The defender had hoped to force his way into contention for last summer's World Cup, but has now been given a chance by new Portugal manager Fernando Santos.

Captain Fonte
Jose Fonte was named Southampton captain in August and also signed a new three-year contract in that month

"I had that hope, it didn't happen," he said. "We had a change of manager and he gave me a great opportunity and honour of representing my country. I'm going to give it my best and make everyone proud of me.

"I waited a long time, but I never gave up, that's not part of me. I worked hard trying to be a better player and improve, and at 30, I've managed to get in the squad.

"That gives me a few years in the national team if I keep performing, so I'm going to keep pushing hard and improving,"

Fonte could play against club-mate Morgan Schneiderlin at the Stade de France, the pair having come through the leagues in English football together.

"It's a great story for both of us," he added. "We started in League One and now we are going to meet each other for our countries."