Ashley Young has expressed his delight at being recalled to the England squad and insists he never gave up on his international career as he prepares to make his first appearance in over four years.
The Manchester United winger, who has enjoyed a career resurgence since being deployed as a full-back and wing-back at Old Trafford, has not played for his country since a World Cup qualifier against Ukraine in September 2013.
But Young’s form for United earned him a call from Gareth Southgate for the upcoming glamour friendlies against Germany and Brazil at Wembley.
Now he has returned, the 32-year-old will not relinquish his place lightly as he sets his sights on a World Cup spot next year.
“I’ve showed I deserve to be in the squad,” Young told reporters ahead of Friday’s match with Germany.
“But it’s not just that, it’s being in the team. I want to play every game. The World Cup is a long way away, but every England player wants to be in the World Cup.
“I never once shut the door on England or thought the door was shut on myself. When you have the chance to represent your country it’s an honour to pull on an England shirt.
“That’s why I will never retire until my legs tell me I can’t run any more. I’m delighted to be back.”
On his new defensive role, Young said: “As a footballer nowadays you’ve got to play in different formations and systems, and it’s just whether you can adapt.
“I’ve been able to do that. The manager [Southgate] is talking about trying a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 and I feel like I can step into that role.
“It’s more having the right footballing brain. I’m one of those players who can read the game well. It’s been quite easy to adjust to the position, and with the help of [Jose Mourinho] and the other players I’ve done that really well.”
— England (@England) November 8, 2017
Prior to this season, Young only started 19 games in two seasons under Louis van Gaal and then Mourinho, but he never contemplated a United exit.
“Even the England manager said the other day that I have played for three managers [Young has played for four in Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, Van Gaal and Mourinho] there and they have always believed in me.
“They have always had that trust in me to play, Champions League, Europa League, big derbies, I’ve always had their trust to play in those games.
“I think there did come a point last season where I wasn’t in the squad, wasn’t even making the 18. It was disappointing but I have never thought about leaving the club.
“I’ve always got that determination, to get back in the squad and get back playing. I’ve spoken to all three managers at times when there was difficult periods but I have got confidence in myself, confidence in my ability get back in.”
After repeatedly saying he had only had three managers at United, Young was asked if anything should be read into those comments, amid suggestions he was not keen on either Moyes or Louis van Gaal.
“You can do if you want,” replied Young.
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