SOUTHEND United defender Jason Demetriou insists he is approaching top form and fitness as he prepares to face some of Europe’s top footballing talents.

Demetriou - who has endured a frustrating start to the season with the Shrimpers - caught the eye for Cyprus in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Scotland.

And the right-back is now keen to do the same against Cyprus in another European Championship qualifying clash.

“We’ve been in the same group as Belgium two or three times but it’s always good to play against the kind of players they have,” said Demetriou.

“They’re one of the best teams in the world and have some top, top players but we played well on Saturday and we’re looking forward to the game.

“I definitely am because I felt really good out there again at the weekend.”

Demetriou underwent two knee operations last season and was forced to miss the start of the current campaign.

But, since returning, the 31-year-old has been unable to re-establish himself in the starting line-up and had been on the bench for seven successive matches prior to his call-up.

“I’ve had to be patient and Elvis (Bwomono) has been doing really well,” said Demetriou.

“The Gillingham game was my last one and it’s been tough but I played well on Saturday and hopefully people at the club have seen what I can do now because I really want to play a part.

“It’s been tough for everyone and it’s hard not being able to train all the time.

“But I felt really good on Saturday, I created quite a few chances and want to build on that now.”

Demetriou, who has previously captained Cyprus, started the game at right wing-back before reverting to a more conventional full-back role after a change in system.