A four-month loan spell in England has left Latvian international Aleksandrs Cauņa hungry for more, with the 21-year-old midfielder telling uefa.com on his return to Skonto FC that "that kind of football can't leave you cold".
Back in Riga after a four-month spell at second-tier Watford FC, Cauņa's hunger to fulfil his reputation as the most promising youngster in Latvian football is undiminished. The 1.68m-tall midfielder is quick, creative and mobile, but admitted the move to England had forced him to raise his game. "It seemed at times that these guys were just flying over the pitch," he said, marvelling at the pace of the English game. "If you start thinking after receiving a ball, you have lost it. You don't have any time to make decisions. Initially training made my head spin but I got used to it and now I'm stronger, both mentally and physically.
"Football in England is a battle," he added. "The team tried to play creative football, but our manager Brendan Rodgers had a go at me for being too direct in attack. He wanted me to improvise and show more individual skill up front." Cauņa responded with five bright performances, and a goal in a 2-2 draw against Southampton FC. That strike, on 7 April, came hard on the heels of Cauņa opening his international account in a 4-0 win against Luxembourg on 28 April. "That was an unforgettable goal for me," said the man who now has eleven caps. "I dreamed of it for a long time and finally my dream came true."
First XI place
Cauņa has done enough to put doubt in the mind of the usually conservative Latvia coach Aleksandrs Starkovs, possibly at the expense of Andrejs Rubins on the right wing. "Latvia are a special team with some outstanding players," said Cauņa. "I have to prove myself in every game to earn a place in the first XI." That attitude surely augurs well for Cauņa, and while the Daugavpils-born player is back at Skonto for the moment, the big challenge of playing in England continues to spur him on. "The atmosphere at matches is unforgettable," he said. "
The four months at Watford were the best of my career, and I really want to go back."
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