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Sebastian Larsson - I'll Prove Myself To Moyes; And I'll Be Here A While Yet

Sebastian Larsson is back in contention for a slot in Sunderland's midfield and with David Moyes staring at a growing void in the middle of the park, the Swede's time is surely about to come again. In an interview with Swedish TV, Seb Larsson reveals he must prove himself to a Sunderland boss who has yet to see what he can do, and that he intends to be in England for a good while yet.

Sunderland v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Today marks five-and-a-half years since Sebastian Bengt Ulf Larsson signed for Sunderland. The Swede was a Steve Bruce acquisition on the 22nd June 2011, yet it somehow feels a whole lot longer than that.

Seb Larsson has seen it all at Sunderland - he's played under nine managers - which is probably the most ridiculous statistic of his career, yet neatly summarises his life in a red-and-white shirt.

Swansea City v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

The second decade of the 21st century will be remembered as a ludicrously turbulent one in the history of Sunderland AFC. With the club teetering on the brink of relegation for this its fifth successive survival battle, one could be forgiven for thinking the 31-year-old Larsson might be hankering for an easier ride in the final years of his career.

But, that would be to underestimate the man who is always incredibly positive about the club he has seen bounce back repeatedly from desperate situations. Indeed, after Sunderland got their first couple of wins under their belt this season, the Swede featured across the local media proclaiming that he knew his team had it in them to recover from the worst ever start to a Premier League campaign.

For the man who has made rallying cries a biennial tradition, even he must have had his doubts about whether the ultimate bounce-back club could do it again this season, as he told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle a couple of weeks ago:

We never totally lost our belief. I think we have drawn a bit of strength from some of our previous campaigns when we have had very poor starts, although this one was as bad as any of them

Now fully recovered from a lengthy lay-off following surgery in the summer after his showing at Euro2016, Larsson retains his hunger to do battle for the team he has called his own for half a decade. And in an interview with Swedish TV, the midfielder reveals he is in no mood to call time on his Premier League career just yet, and that he still feels he has to prove himself to new boss, David Moyes.

Republic of Ireland v Sweden - Group E: UEFA Euro 2016 Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Speaking about his return from injury and getting to grips with a new manager and a new set of teammates having missed much of the summer preparations for the new Premier League campaign, Larsson told TV4:

It is a good time to be back and be available

Then it's up to me to prove that I deserve the confidence of the coach. I mean, he came new in pre-season and I barely had time to work out his brand of football.

So really now, it's my turn to show him what I can do - as the other others did in pre-season.

Larsson signed a new deal at Sunderland in 2014 which expires next summer. He'll be 32 then, but the battling Swede says he has no worries about his future:

No, there are no concerns on that situation at all. With how the injury was I put all the focus on getting back fresh.

It's not even that I am thinking about it [the future]. I do not feel worn out at all! Just as I said, I feel better than ever and I can do things with a ball that I have not been able to do in a long time. In general, I feel refreshed, so I have not even thought about it or had such thoughts as, hopefully, I have many years to come.

The veteran of over 150 Sunderland appearances was linked with a return home a few weeks ago. AIK of Stockholm and IFK Gothenburg were said to be two top-flight Swedish clubs who had expressed an interest in his signature next summer, but Larsson says he has no plans to return to Scandinavia any time soon:

I never close doors to anything. But it is not appropriate to move home right now.

But, the lure of a glorious homecoming clearly lingers at the back of the Eskilstuna-born footballer's mind. Indeed with his local club on the verge of promotion to the Swedish Premier League, Seb Larsson has flirted with AFC United, who moved to the city which is an hour away from Stockholm earlier this year:

It will be natural. I am an Eskilstuna guy, and all of a sudden there is a team from Eskilstuna which plays in the Premier League. It is in the local papers asking what I think and feel about it.

I have been joking around with my dad about that. I hope first and foremost to remain abroad for a few years, but I close no doors to eventually play at home.

For now though, with David Moyes staring at a midfield desperately short of options and of quality, Sebastian Larsson's time is surely about to come again in a Sunderland shirt.

Didier Ndong will head for the Africa Cup of Nations once the festive period is over and join a list of unavailable midfielders which includes Jan Kirchhoff, Lee Cattermole, Paddy McNair, Duncan Watmore and Jack Rodwell.

Surely Sebastian Larsson is primed for a big New Year.