Stekelenburg keen to make his mark

A long-term injury to England international Fraser Forster led Saints to this summer dip into the transfer market for a stop-gap number one, with the 32-year-old arriving on a season-long loan from Fulham last month.

It is a deal that seems to suit all parties after Stekelenburg's 2013 move to Craven Cottage went sour, with Martin Jol's sacking and the west Londoners' relegation seeing him make a temporary switch to Monaco last term.

The Dutch goalkeeper spent much of that time in the principality on the bench, making the move to St Mary's an important period for a player who started the 2010 World Cup final against Spain.

"Monaco was not frustrating - no, it was my escape my Fulham," Stekelenburg said.

"It was at the end of the transfer window, it was my only way out

I knew the situation when I signed for Monaco.

"The goalkeeper (Danijel Subasic) did a fantastic season

I think I played nine games in total, so I knew the situation but I didn't want to have one more year like that

"I wanted to play and I get the chance here.

"I know my level, I know what I can do, but you also need a chance to show it.

"I am just happy with this chance here and hopefully I can continue like this."

Stekelenburg certainly could not have asked for a better start to life at St Mary's.

Facing countrymen Vitesse Arnhem in the Europa League, the goalkeeper kept a clean sheet as Saints returned to the continental stage with a 3-0 win.

"I think the result is fantastic," he said

"The first 10, 15 minutes, we didn't control the game.

"After that, we took the initiative, scored a good goal and then a penalty

I think it was a penalty - I couldn't see from my angle, but there was not a lot of protests.

"I think after that we controlled the game and in the second half we needed to play more forward but we didn't, so they got one big chance again.

"But I am happy with the clean sheet and the result."

The first leg of the third qualifying round tie was not the busiest of nights for Stekelenburg, but he did produce a key second-half save to keep Vitesse from scoring a potentially decisive away goal.

It provided Saints with a platform for Shane Long to add to first-half goals from Graziano Pelle and Dusan Tadic, securing a first European win in nearly 34 years.

"Thirty-four?" he said, puffing out his cheeks

"I think everybody was looking forward to this moment.

"Like I just said, It was a long time ago and I think they saw a nice game, especially with the result."

Stekelenburg is not looking too far ahead just yet - "we had a fantastic in the first game, so we have to finish it in the second" - but is excited about Southampton's potential this term.

"I think (we can achieve) a lot," he said

"The mentality of this team is really good, if I compare with other teams I have played for.

"This is a very nice team

They work their b****cks off for every minute, every second of the game.

"Also in training, they work hard and we want to go forwards and get better

That is a really good thing so hopefully we can get a nice season like last year."

Source : PA

Source: PA