Fabio Borini is determined to reclaim his place and hit the goal trail after signing for Sunderland to play regular football.
The Italian is no stranger to fighting for a starting berth having played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe.
I was out because I was injured and didn’t play for two weeks, only training three times with the team.
And competition for places at Sunderland is fierce with Jermain Defoe, Steven Fletcher, Danny Graham, Duncan Watmore, Jeremain Lens, Adam Johnson and Ola Toivonen all challenging for an attacking role.
But the ex-Chelsea, Roma and Liverpool striker is confident of winning back his place, given he is now fully fit.
Borini missed the Newcastle and Everton games with an ankle knock and had to make do with a place on the bench on his return against Southampton.
“I always try to be in the side,” a refreshed Borini said.
“I was out because I was injured and didn’t play for two weeks, only training three times with the team.
“Every football side is the same, it is normal.
“I will work hard to play every week because I came here to do so. I feel good now.”
Watmore was handed his first start against Ronald Koeman’s Saints after impressing in previous sub appearances.
Borini describes the former Altrincham forward as a promising young player and he is using the added competition as a springboard to push himself further.
“Duncan is a good young player that has come in from the Academy,” added Borini.
“It is always good to have young players. I had it myself at Chelsea.
“It is not my position to judge how he played (against Southampton) but he is a good pro and in training he is very good.
“More competition is always good but I’m not scared of it.
“I had competition at Liverpool, Roma - I always wanted to play.”
The 24-year-old, yet to score since his £10million summer move from Liverpool, is using the international break to impress on the training ground ahead of the trip to Crystal Palace next Monday.
Several of Sam Allardyce’s squad are away including Swedish pair Toivonen and Seb Larsson, while Costel Pantilimon is away with Romania, DeAndre Yedlin with the US and Sebastian Coates Uruguay.
Borini said: “The players that are in training must focus on ourselves.
“I always say, ‘think about us first and then the rest’ - because if we do our job properly individually, then collectively we get the result.”
Finding a system that suits the Black Cats would help, but Borini insists the Black Cats have to remain flexible in the Premier League.
He added: “You play different opponents and every game is not the same.
“Every game is different and you have to prepare for that.
“But while the game is ongoing we have to realise that if something is working to keep doing it, and if something isn’t then change it.”
“Individually and mentally this break is a good time to get ourselves back into the winning way by constantly working hard and knowing what to do to win games - or not to lose them.”