Steven Caulker says the success of his friend Ryan Bertrand during a loan spell with Saints last season reassured him a move to St Mary’s was the right choice for him.
Bertrand, who joined on loan from Chelsea last summer, had an excellent first half of the season with Saints and was rewarded with a permanent deal in February. He then went on to be named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year.
Caulker, who played alongside the left-back for Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games, says the progress of Bertrand with Saints made it clear to him just what the club could provide.
“It gave me reassurance if ever I needed any. I was always set on joining the club and I will speak with Ryan now I’ve signed,” Caulker told Southampton’s official YouTube channel.
“He was in a similar situation last year, joining on loan and then making his move permanent. You’ve only got to look at his success to see what a great club Southampton is and where they can take you.
“So many young English players have done really well here. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s an exciting challenge but first I have to work to earn my place in the team.”
Caulker’s decision was made even easier by the opportunity to work with Saints boss Ronald Koeman. “I’ve heard nothing but good things,” Caulker added.
“Looking at last year, he did fantastically well with the whole team. He always spoke very well in the media and I really felt like I wanted to be part of this exciting project.”
Now he’s joined, there’s a clear aim for Caulker and that’s to work his way into Koeman’s plans as quickly as possible, with a good pre-season at QPR standing him in good stead.
“I’ve had a tough four or five weeks training with QPR. We had a good pre-season actually. We got some good work done and I got three or four games under my belt,” Caulker explained.
“Now I want to work my way into the team here. There are two very good centre-backs here who both did very well last year. There’s going to be good competition for places.
“I want to take it one step at a time. I don’t want to get carried away and I just want to have a real focus on my club career. I’m excited to get my head down and work hard for the club.”