Parker: Euro 2012 may be my ‘first and only chance’ with England
Scott Parker admits that Euro 2012 may be his “first and only chance of winning something with England”.
The 31-year-old midfielder was named in Roy Hodgson’s final 23-man squad this week as the Three Lions prepare for the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.
It is the first time the Spurs midfielder has been included in the England squad for a major tournament.
And, although expectations around England are currently lower than they have been for more than a decade, Parker insists that he will be going all out to seize his chance of international glory.
“As a player I’m not going to the European Championship with the mindset that it’s all right if we perform reasonably well - and I’m quite sure I can say the same for the other players,” he told The Sun.
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“We are going to the tournament to try and win it. I will be 33 when the World Cup comes around [in 2014] and this may be my first and only chance of winning something with England.”
Parker has made a late arrival on the international stage - he has just 12 caps to his name - but has become an increasingly important player for the Three Lions and captained the side for the friendly against Holland in February.
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The change in management has not altered Parker’s standing in the squad – and he concedes that life is already simpler under Hodgson.
“To be honest, the previous manager struggled to get his point across because of the language barrier,” he said. “Fabio Capello was a bit distant whereas Roy Hodgson is very proactive and interacts with the players.
“He’s extremely well organised and you have a far better understanding of what he requires from you. He’s an old-fashioned type of manager, the type you know is very approachable and hands-on.”
The Tottenham man’s importance to England has only been increased by an injury to Gareth Barry, who withdrew from the squad this week, leaving Parker as the only defensively-minded midfielder.
He has suffered his own injury scare in recent weeks, after a sore Achilles curtailed his end to the domestic campaign with Tottenham.
And, as England prepare to face Spurs target Jan Vertonghen and his Belgium team-mates at Wembley on Saturday, Parker admits he feared that his Euro 2012 dreams were going to be shattered.
“I can’t lie, I was extremely concerned I was going to miss out,” he said. “I didn’t play in the last four Tottenham games, I was having injections and the injury was taking time to respond.
“But perhaps my luck was changing because it eventually started to get better and I felt my chances of being selected were increasing if I was fit enough to play.
“The injury is fine and being treated by the England medical team. The biggest challenge is regaining full match fitness. I played against Norway [on Saturday] and I’m getting stronger and have 10 days of training to get in shape, so fingers crossed I’ll be fully fit when the tournament gets underway.”