Angel Correa: I contemplated Atletico Madrid departure 'many times'
Atletico Madrid attacker and reported Liverpool target Angel Correa has said he thought about leaving the La Liga club "many times" due to a lack of starts, but decided to stay and fight for a place in Diego Simeone's XI.
Correa, 22, has scored 18 goals in 87 appearances since joining Atletico from San Lorenzo in December 2014 for £6.75 million.
However, he has generally been used as a substitute throughout his time at the club by Simeone, and there were reports in the summer that Liverpool and Newcastle had offered him regular football in the Premier League.
"It is up to the coach, I train to be available to play 90 minutes," Correa told El Pais. "I thought about [leaving] many times. It is difficult, I feel like I want to play always and I prepare myself for that. It is difficult to get used to just playing a short while, you must get your head ready. Now I am getting the chance to play more, and I hope to take advantage of that."
Correa was on the bench for Atletico's first La Liga game this season and scored as a substitute as the team came back to draw 2-2 at Girona. He then started both trips to Las Palmas and Valencia, with Antoine Griezmann suspended, but was out of the XI for Tuesday's 0-0 Champions League draw at Roma.
Speaking before the Las Palmas game in August, Simeone said that Correa had already proven he could change games as a substitute, but now needed to show more consistency in his game.
"Angel remains an exciting prospect," Simeone said. "We are waiting for him to find consistency over time. He can change games for you, and not all players can do that. We have spoken with him in preseason. This is an important year for him, he must take another step.
"His goal last week [at Girona] showed what he can do -- he has pace, turns well, dribbles, shoots, is a very complete player. We already know he can make the difference coming off the bench, but he must play consistently for 90 minutes."
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan