Everton midfielder Leon Osman never gave up hope of receiving an England call-up.
The 31-year-old was announced as part of Roy Hodgson’s 23-man squad for Wednesday’s friendly clash with Sweden in Stockholm.
And while international recognition has been a long time coming for the midfielder, he insists that he was not shocked upon hearing the news, adding that he was a late bloomer when it came to football.
“I seem to have developed late in the game,” he said.
“I didn’t make my debut until I was 21 and I wasn’t a regular until I was 23. I’ve done everything late so it doesn’t surprise me that I’m here now.
“I’d stopped looking for my name in the squad every time but I never gave up hope.”
The Wigan-born playmaker went on to describe the moment when Everton manager David Moyes broke the news to the team.
“We were out on the training pitch and I saw a lot of staff start to filter to the side of the pitch,” he said.
“The next thing the manager called us into a circle and announced I was in the squad. I got a big cheer from the side, lots of head ruffles and kidney punches. It was a great moment.”
Another new face in the squad is Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha.
Despite making his name in the second tier of English football, Daniel Sturridge has backed the 20-year to shine for his country.
“I have watched him play a few times and he was very sharp in training today, he looked very good,” Sturridge said.
“As I say, he’s hugely talented, he’s got a lot of skill and can bring a lot to the table and I’m looking forward to playing with him.”