'Swansea move my best decision'
JONATHAN de Guzman believes switching to Swansea City has been his best move in football.
The Canadian-born midfielder travelled to Holland as a 12-year-old to join Feyenoord's youth academy.
After coming through the ranks at the Dutch club, he went on to play for Mallorca and then Villarreal in Spain.
But it is the decision to link up with Swansea that de Guzman regards as his most rewarding.
"It's probably been the turning point of my career coming here," he said.
"I was getting minutes again and playing on a great stage in the Premier League.
"Then last February I got the call-up for the national team.
"It was a great year last year, and I'm working hard to improve on it.
"During the season playing week-in, week-out, I caught the eyes of one of the staff of the national team.
"They were impressed and then I got the call-up."
In 2008 de Guzman gained Dutch citizenship and became the first naturalised player to represent Holland when he made his debut in a friendly against Italy.
The 26-year-old went on to feature in World Cup qualifiers against Estonia and Romania, and has since become established in Louis van Gaal's squad.
Such an achievement seemed some distance away before he arrived in South Wales.
The man on-loan from Villarreal struggled for game time during a 2011-2012 campaign that saw his side relegated from La Liga.
But de Guzman quickly became a regular under Michael Laudrup, who had also managed him at Mallorca.
He played a key role as Swansea finished ninth in the Premier League last term and scored two goals in the Capital One Cup final win over Bradford.
This season de Guzman's appearances have been limited by injury and increased midfield competition. He suffered concussion at the start of the campaign after a clash of heads with Dirk Kuyt on international duty.
And the skilful playmaker also had to pull out of the Holland squad that recently beat Turkey and Hungary to end their World Cup qualifying campaign in style because of a groin problem.
But he has since recovered and is battling for a place in the Swansea side to face Sunderland today.
"With concussion, little injuries here and there and coming back a bit later, it's been a bit slower than expected, but I know my qualities and what I can bring to this team," said de Guzman.
"I'm fit now and we have a great squad with a lot of great players, especially a lot of midfielders.
"The gaffer has been changing the team with midweek games so everyone is trying to bring in what they can."
Swansea tried to make de Guzman's move permanent last summer before settling on a second season-long loan. It has offered the player some welcome stability after a nomadic few years.
"For the last three years I've been moving on after a year," he added.
"This is the first season I've stayed with the same team so it's been a lot easier for me to settle because I know people, the staff, the city and people around the stadium.
"I haven't thought about next season because this one is still young. We have a long way to go.
"After doing well last season, winning the Capital One Cup, of course I wanted to stay.
"We made that decision to get another year's loan and see how it goes and we'll see what happens at the end of the season."