Dean Ashton has said he will continue to work hard in training to show what he can bring to the England team ahead of the friendly against Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday night.
The in-form striker was unlucky not to have got off the bench on Wednesday night in the 2-0 win against the United States, but regardless is making the most of the chance to be back on the international scene. "It has been great to be involved in a squad with such great players and I think it is only going to be good for me in the long run," said Ashton who was among the unused substitutes at Wembley. "It is all experience whether I play or don't play, but obviously it would be lovely to get some minutes this weekend."
Ashton added he has enjoyed the week's training and has particular reason to be glad about being part of the England set-up again after twice being called up before only to be ruled out because of injury. The striker broke his ankle in August 2006 on the first day of training with Steve McClaren's squad and then a knee injury prevented him from even joining up with the national team in October last year. "I was glad to have got past the first day in training, unlike the last time," he said with a smile. "But it was a long time ago now and I was just pleased to be picked again. Hopefully I can show I am worthy of some minutes on the pitch."
The 24-year-old is part of the new England set-up under Fabio Capello for the first time and said the spirit is good. Personally, he still feels fresh having finished off the Premier League season strongly for West Ham United, notching his eleventh goal of the campaign in the final game against Aston Villa. "I had a little break straight after the season finished, but it was no problem getting back into training again and I have been pleased with how it has gone. It is a really good set-up here, all the players are high quality and the staff just wants the best from them, so it has been good."
Ashton also wished his club-mate Jonathan Spector well for his summer of World Cup and Olympic action after the American defender had to miss Wednesday's game because of a hip injury. He was ruled out earlier in the week, which meant there was never going to be a chance of the two playing against each other. "Jonathan has been struggling with a hip injury, so it was a shame for him. I am sure he would have loved to have played at Wembley and obviously it was the same for me."
Undeterred by that frustration, Ashton is looking ahead to the next fixture against Trinidad and Tobago - the final England action of the 2007/08 season - and will be working as hard as ever to try and grab his chance. He was named in the traveling party by Capello today, with only seven of the squad who were involved in the Champions League final spared the trip to the Caribbean. "I would have loved to have got on [against the US], but I will continue to work hard and it would be lovely to get on and play a part on Sunday."
Revised England squad
David James (Portsmouth), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Joe Lewis (Peterborough United), Wayne Bridge (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson (Portsmouth), Stephen Warnock (Blackburn Rovers), David Wheater (Middlesbrough), Jonathan Woodgate (Tottenham Hotspur), Gareth Barry (Aston Villa), David Beckham (LA Galaxy), David Bentley (Blackburn Rovers), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Tom Huddlestone (Tottenham Hotspur), Ashley Young (Aston Villa), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa), Dean Ashton (West Ham United), Peter Crouch (Liverpool), Jermain Defoe (Portsmouth).