The Liverpool defender Emiliano Insua claims it has taken him three years to settle into English football. The 23-year-old Argentina international initially joined on loan from Boca Juniors in January 2007 and did not make his first-team debut for three months.
He made 13 appearances the following season, competing against Fabio Aurelio and Andrea Dossena for the left-back spot. But injuries to the former and the summer departure of the latter has meant the South American has played in all but two of Liverpool's 28 Premier League fixtures.
And Insua is set to continue his spell in the first team with Aurelio now ruled out for up to three weeks with a thigh strain
"For me this has been a special season because I've played many games in a row so I'm really happy," said Insua, who scored his first Liverpool goal in the 2-1 Carling Cup defeat by Arsenal in October – just a fortnight after making his Argentina debut.
"It has given me a lot of confidence that I can do the job so I have to keep working hard and doing the same on the pitch. If you are playing so many games in a row you get experience if you are a young player," said Insua. "I think this season will help me for the future and give me experience."
Insua has been involved in 2,360 minutes of Premier League action this season, with only tireless forward Dirk Kuyt, midfielder Lucas Leiva and the defender Jamie Carragher having had more on the pitch time of the outfield players.
The Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez was keen to rest the 23-year-old by rotating him with Aurelio over the coming weeks but injury to the Brazilian has ruled out that option for now.
Aurelio has not had much luck with injuries, having missed the start of the season after sustaining a freak knee problem in a kickabout with his children during the summer and been troubled with few niggling injuries since.
"It's not good news and we think he is going to be out for maybe another two or three weeks – Fabio has had really bad luck," said Benitez of his sidelined left-back. "It all began at the start of the season, when he suffered the injury during the summer with his family, and it's like there has been something every month since then.
"It is a shame because he is a top footballer and a really nice person but him being out leaves us with a problem because we wanted to play him, so we could give Insua a rest," said Benitez.
"Emiliano is a good young player and has benefited from being involved in so many games but he has been playing a lot recently. We needed Fabio so he could help the team and also help Insua. His injury is bad news for both of them."
Insua admitted that playing alongside the national-team captain Javier Mascherano and compatriot Maxi Rodriguez, a January signing from Atletico Madrid, had made his life easier on and off the pitch.
"The Argentinian people are really together for each other and it is such a different culture [in England]," said Insua. "In the first year I couldn't speak much English so to have Javier and now Maxi means it is very special for all three of us. Javier is the captain of the national team so I respect him and I listen to him and maybe he can help me for the future."Reuse content