Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry said he is not ready to retire from international duty with England.
And he is hoping to be selected for the next squad despite missing out on World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland.
Barry, who played a key role in the 3-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday, has not represented his country since suffering a groin injury in Roy Hodgson’s first game in charge, a friendly against Norway in May.
While the 31-year-old is considered a surprise omission from the 25-man squad for Friday’s match with San Marino at Wembley and next Tuesday’s trip to Poland, Barry accepts that the latest round of World Cup qualifiers may have come too early for him.
Barry told reporters: “I have not spoken to the England manager, but I understand why I am not in it. My season hasn’t really got going, and I am still getting over the injury.
“I am hopeful that if I can get a run in the City team, I will be in the next squad. I am obviously disappointed because I want to play for my country. I am not ready to retire yet, and will just keep working hard.
“The injury came at the wrong time with the new manager coming in. It is tough sometimes to force your way back in. I have experienced it before.”
Barry, who made his England debut against Ukraine in 2000, suffered a four-year international exile during Sven Goran-Eriksson’s reign, but had been a regular fixture since being recalled by Steve McClaren in 2007.
“The manager is picking players he has called up and relied on during the summer, and is probably thinking there is no need to oust them at the minute,” he said.
“It is just down to me to keep working hard, keep my place in the City team and then force my way back in.
“Sometimes you need a bit of luck with injuries and so on, but I’m confident that when the call comes, the manager knows what I can do and I’m sure that if there’s a space for me I will be called upon.”
Barry, who has 53 caps, also praised fellow England hopeful Micah Richards, who was outstanding for City against Sunderland on Saturday in his first match since representing Team GB at the Olympics.
The defender, who had been absent with an ankle injury, replaced skipper Vincent Kompany and played a key role in City’s first clean sheet of the campaign. At the other end, he was a constant menace to the Black Cats’ rearguard with his aerial prowess, and could have nabbed at least one goal.
Barry continued: “Micah was unbelievable on Saturday. He has not played a game for weeks, and was pencilled in for a run-out with the Under-21s in the week.
“The injuries we got meant the manager had an option in him, and it was like he had never been away. He had a fantastic game and could have had a hat-trick, but I’m sure the clean sheet will do him.”