Mears ready for Euro test

Marseille-bound defender excited by fresh challenge

Mears: Surprise switch

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Tyrone Mears does not expect to experience any difficulties as he prepares for UEFA Champions League action.

The 25-year-old has recently completed a loan switch to French giants Marseille after impressing coach Eric Gerets during a two-day trial.

He leaves behind life in the Championship at Derby, with the Rams continuing to battle with an alarming relegation hangover.

The move has come as a surprise to many supporters on both sides of the English Channel, but Mears insists he is capable of bridging the step-up in class.

Adapt

"I believe in my abilities. And even if I know I'm going to have to fight for my place, I'm ready for the challenge," he told Eurosport France.

"I've come here to play football with a big club which is in the Champions League. And I don't think the French league will be so different from the Premier League.

"It's perhaps a bit more technical, but I'm going to adapt.

"I'll also be able to bring my knowledge of the English game. That could be useful to the team, especially against Liverpool."

Mears is set to return to England, and Anfield, after his new club were drawn against the Reds in Champions League Group D.

Qualities

Merseyside holds painful memories for the defender after enduring a 6-0 hammering there last season, but Gerets claims it was that game which first brought the former Preston man to his attention.

"I saw one of his side's games last season where they conceded six goals and despite that he had a good match," Gerets told the club's official website.

"He showed the qualities I want to see in a wing-back, both offensively and defensively.

"I didn't know too much about his game, his character and his mentality, which is why I didn't ask about him until I'd spoken to him over the phone.

"He impressed me in a way which I've not experienced much in these past few years."

Undeniable

Despite liking what he sees in Mears, Gerets admits the full-back faces a battle to win a place in his starting XI.

"(Laurent) Bonnart is undeniably still first choice," he continued.

"But if Tyrone shows himself to be better than the rest, he'll play, just as is the case with all the positions where we have two players."