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Parker revels in international role
England's 2011 Vauxhall Player of the Year Scott Parker has admitted he had probably reached the point of no return when he was called off the bench in Copenhagen 12 months ago.
Having been largely ignored by Fabio Capello throughout the Italian's tenure, had it all gone wrong for Parker in that friendly against Denmark, he might never have won another cap. As it was, the 31-year-old's performance propelled him into a series of performances that have cemented his status as one of this new England's most important men.
"I don't think I ever lost hope that I could make it at international level," he said. "I crammed in a lot in one year. I realised time was ticking. The Denmark game was pivotal. I came on for 45 minutes and then I got a start against Wales in a big game [and that] was massive for me."
He added: "I played in [midfield] with Jack [Wilshere] and Frank [Lampard] and we got a great result. It ended up being a great game [for me].
"From there I played a lot more games. It was a very exciting year for me internationally and I'm looking forward to more action.
"It's a proud moment every time I pull on the England shirt. It's something I've always wanted to do, whenever I was playing outside, whenever I was playing at the park with my mates it was always England you try to emulate and try to be."
Parker featured in seven of the nine England games, only sitting out the friendlies against Ghana and Sweden.
So influential has he become that not only has he succeeded Ashley Cole to win a prestigious award, voted for by England fans, he is now second favourite, behind Steven Gerrard, to captain the Three Lions in their Euro 2012 warm-up against Holland at Wembley on Wednesday night.
"It's a great honour," he said. "Just looking at the names that are on the trophy it's quite an achievement. It's a proud moment for me, I'm delighted.
"When you feel the fans are appreciating what you've done, it's extra special. It's been a good year for me at international level so I'm delighted the fans have picked me."