Sebastian Larsson is relishing in the prospect of playing against Ashley Cole this weekend, when Chelsea take on Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
Larsson moved to Sunderland from Birmingham this summer, and has so far scored the only goal for the club in their three opening matches, against Liverpool at Anfield.
And the winger is looking forward to facing Chelsea, and in particular Cole, to test himself and get the Black Cats’ season back on track after a shaky start that included a home derby loss to Newcastle.
“You always like to test yourself against the best and I play mainly on the right wing, so the likes of Ashley Cole, Gael Clichy, Patrice Evra are the top left-backs in the league, and arguably the world, so they are the toughest to play against,” Larsson told skysports.com.
“It gives you a chance to see if you can really handle it and shows how good a player you actually are.
“Getting the better of a player such as Ashley Cole gives you a lot of confidence because it is always a tough battle.
“Every player wants to challenge themselves against the best players in the world and I'm no different.
“The day you don't look forward to these types of games and certain personal battles is the day you think about hanging up your boots.”
Sunderland will face a tough task defeating Chelsea on Saturday, with the Blues boasting in-form signing Juan Mata and Raul Meireles possibly making his debut.
Nicklas Bendtner is also expected to make his first appearance for his new club in the match, on the back of some top form for Denmark in the international break, where the striker scored twice in a 2-0 win over Norway.