Tom Heaton has revealed his pride at getting his first England start and insisted he never gave up on his Three Lions dream.
Burnley keeper Heaton, 31, started at Manchester United but played in all four divisions including Rochdale, Wycombe and Cardiff before ending up at Turf Moor.
Heaton said: “I have played across all four divisions, but the hunger to play for England never left me.
“It might have felt a long way off at certain times, you know playing down in League Two, but I never lost that belief.
“It is a different sort of journey to a lot of lads, but I am proud of that journey. Started at United, left, went away, sort of worked back up to the Premier League – I wouldn’t change it, albeit a little bit further down the line than most. It is what it is.
“I like to think it stands me in good stead in terms of the experiences and perhaps the mental side of it. It is one of those things you have to embrace and I really have got the hunger and ambition to push on from here.”
Gareth Southgate made it clear that Heaton’s start was a reward for his loyalty and always reporting up.
Heaton has a reputation as being a good squad member and made it clear how much it will mean for Burnley.
He added: “Since I signed four years ago, the club has moved on leaps and bounds. We had a successful season in the Championship, getting relegated from the Premier League but the club was moving forward.
“There was a lot going on in the background, infrastructure and I think that stood us in good stead to then go and win the Championship and retain Premier League status this season.”