Locadia rejuvenated after fruitful Christmas run for Brighton

Over the Christmas period, the games come thick and fast in the Premier League and with such a hectic schedule, there is always the opportunity for fringe players to make an impact.

Jurgen Locadia had only made three starts prior to December and had yet to score a goal for Brighton but, thanks to injuries and a slight change in manager Chris Hughton’s playing style, the Dutchman finally received his opportunity and grasped it with both hands.

With wingers Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Jose Izquierdo side-lined, the Seagulls were in need of a left-winger and Locadia was more than happy to fill that spot, saying “I played in Holland [at PSV] as a left-winger in a 4-3-3 system, so I think it suits me.”

That certainly proved to be the case with the 25-year-old scoring back-to-back goals against Arsenal and Everton at the Amex in the space of just three days.

“It was a crazy week,” Locadia said, “[to go] from not starting [at the beginning of the season] to playing in those two games and scoring! I’m very happy and proud and would like to thank everybody at the club.”

Since then, Locadia has cemented his place in the side, having started all of Brighton’s last six games and any speculation that a January move might have been on the cards has all but disappeared.

“I never wanted to go on loan or be sold in January, that’s not my intention,” Locadia said, “obviously I want to play every game and I told the gaffer ‘I came here to play matches’. I kept training hard every day and I think it has rewarded me.”

Now as an integral part of Chris Hughton’s side, Locadia is looking forward to closing out the season on the south-coast.

“I think my place is here in Brighton,” he said, “I know I had a difficult time when not playing games, but I think I have shown that I deserve to be here.

“I think I can do better but helping us to win games is a good way to show the quality I’ve got. It’s up to me to continue to show it in every game.”

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