Leroy's looking forward to bright times ahead
11th July 2016
Leroy Fer has put down roots in the Premier League after digging deep with Swansea City last season.
Now, having completed a permanent move to the Liberty Stadium, the midfielder plans to stick around.
Fer has spent the whole summer smiling after avoiding the most unwelcome of hat-tricks following his loan switch to the Swans from Queens Park Rangers.
Relegated from the top flight in 2014 with Norwich City and then again with QPR 12 months later, Fer faced questions about the prospect of a third successive bottom-three finish when he arrived in Wales back in February.
At that point, Francesco Guidolin's team were 17th in the table, and concern was in the air.
Yet by May 1 - with two games still to play before the season ended - the Swans were safe.
"About time for me" Fer tweeted that night as he celebrated the victory over Liverpool which ensured the Swans would remain a Premier League club in 2016-17.
The Dutchman was only on loan at that stage, but is now back preparing for the new top-flight campaign having returned on a three-year deal.
And after the successes of last term, he is in buoyant mood.
"I tweeted it (after Liverpool) - I said finally I stay up," said Fer from the club's pre-season tour in America.
"But I knew from the beginning when I came here that this was not a team that would be relegated.
"I know we had a battle last season, but we did really well in the second half of the season.
"There are quality players here, players who can defend, players who can get balls to the strikers and strikers who can score goals.
"We have some top players who have done well at Euro 2016 so it was not a doubt for me that we were going to avoid relegation.
"It was a nice feeling for me to stay up. Losing a relegation battle is hard. I was very pleased - I was happy."
Raised at Feyenoord, where he made more than 100 senior appearances after coming through the ranks, Fer went on to impress at FC Twente before making the move to English football when he joined Norwich in 2013.
After the Canaries went down, Fer switched to QPR in 2014.
Following the Hoops' relegation in 2015, he spent half a season in the Championship before the Swans offered him another chance to play top-flight football.
Now he is hungry to remain in the Premier League - and he wants to do so in a white shirt.
"There were some other clubs who called my agent in the summer but I just said I wanted to stay in Swansea, because everything was so good from the start," he addded.
"I like to play football from the back. At my two previous teams we played a bit more direct, but Swansea play like we play in Holland. It fits for me. That is one of the many things which made my decision really easy.
"Also I have my family now - a young baby. Swansea is not a big, big city like London for example, but it is good for my son to grow up here.
"But apart from that, the football is the most important thing. This is a team that normally plays to be in the top half of the table.
"I am really happy to be here and hopefully I can stay here for some years. I signed for three years, hopefully I can stay for those three years and maybe even more."
Initially, Fer had to be patient after joining Swansea in the final hours of last winter's transfer window.
Yet when his opportunities came, the 26-year-old did enough to convince Guidolin - who admitted to knowing little about the player when he signed - that he was worth a permanent deal.
Swans fans took to the box-to-box midfield player, too.
"In the last game against Manchester City, they were screaming my name," Fer says through a grin.
"That makes me feel good and very welcome. I hope they will do the same next season."
Fer also has fingers crossed that Danny Blind, the Netherlands coach, will take note of his performances in the new campaign.
Fer has 11 Dutch caps to his name - including a goalscoring appearance at the 2014 World Cup against Chile - but has not featured in a national squad since last year.
"If you play well at your club then always the coach is going to watch you," he adds.
"I am concentrating on Swansea now. If it all goes well, like last season, then hopefully I will get a chance to show myself again in the national team.
"It's a long while ago that I was last in the squad.
"I want to prove myself again, first of all at Swansea - for the team, the coaches and the fans - and hopefully I do so well that I can show myself again in the national team."