New Swansea City striker Sam Surridge wants a crack at the Premier League, having had a taster when he was just 19.
Surridge instilled himself with the belief he could cut it at the very top level by troubling Manchester United defender Marcos Rojo in an FA Cup tie in 2018.
The on-loan Bournemouth striker – who could make his debut against Derby County today – started for Yeovil against United and although the Old Trafford giants eventually won 4-0, Argentina international Rojo was given a torrid time by the man from Slough.
“In the first 15 minutes we did alright. I was only 19 and playing in a game that big for Yeovil was massive. It was Alexis Sanchez’s debut,” said Surridge.
“We had a couple of chances to go 1-0 up, but it wasn’t to be. Rojo kept fouling me in the first 20 minutes and tried to go through me, but I was winning free kicks for the team.
“I thought we were going to get something out of it, but it was a great experience for me.”
Surridge has had loan spells at Weymouth, Poole Town, Yeovil and Oldham.
Swansea will be his first experience of the Championship, but Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has told him he has a long-term future with the Cherries.
Surridge is in the frame to make his Swansea debut at Derby as Steve Cooper’s side look to build on their opening win over Hull.
“When you’re playing against Premier League players regularly you know you can make that step up,” Surridge said.
“Playing against United was massive for me. It was a great experience and it’s the same when I train with Bournemouth.
“With the strikers they’ve got there it’s hard to get in the team, so Eddie said I need to prove myself at this level so I can go back in with confidence I can do it in the Premier League.
“That’s why I’ve come here because I need to do that to make that step up.
“I’ve still got a few more years left on my Bournemouth contract and that’s eventually where I want to end up. Swansea is a massive step for me, but I’m ready to take it.”
Derby started their season under new manager Phillip Cocu with a 2-1 win over Huddersfield in their first game on Monday night.
Manager Cooper said: “We grew into the game against Hull and ended up being good for the result and we want to build on that.
“This is an away game against a big club who have had quite a lot of change there with the new manager and players coming in and going out.
“These are the games we want to be playing and we are very confident. We will be focusing on ourselves and be committed to doing the best we can.”
Cooper has one less option up his sleeve for the season after Birmingham City completed a deal for winger Jefferson Montero on a season-long loan.
The two clubs agreed a deal and submitted the according paperwork ahead of Thursday’s 5pm deadline but were waiting for the EFL to ratify the move, which happened on Friday.
Swansea were keen to offload Montero, who has struggled with injury problems for the past two years.
The Ecuador international links up with former Swans coach Pep Clotet for the Championship campaign as the pair worked together between 2013 and 2015.
Montero originally joined Swansea from Mexican side Morelia for £4.5m in 2014, managing only two goals in his first five years at the club as he struggled with injuries.
He went out on various loan spells to Getafe, Emelec and most recently West Brom last season, and leaves Swansea having made 85 appearances for the club in all competitions.