Debutant-in-waiting, Scott Parker, tells TheFA.com what it means to be picked...
Debutant-in-waiting, Scott Parker, tells TheFA.com what it means to be picked to play for your country...
Scott Parker is a breath of fresh air. Candid, mature, intelligent and ambitious, if he settles into the team on the pitch as well as he has done off it, England may well have found their next midfield star.
His performances this season have personified that of his club, Charlton. The alliance of talent and hard work have seen both the player and the club rise to national prominance, culminating in Parker's first ever Senior international call-up on Saturday night. And, since he's been here with the team, he's loved every minute.
"It's been brilliant - right from the first day," he admits. "It's been everything I expected...words can't really express how it feels. Representing your country is something that you dream about, now that dream is coming true.
"I heard about it as I was just coming home from the game [against Everton] on Saturday. I got indoors and it popped up on the television."
Indeed, it would have been difficult for Sven to forget Scott. Afterall, on the day that he was naming his squad to face Australia, the England manager had spent his afternoon at the Valley watching the the midfield maestro lead his side to an impressive victory against Wayne Rooney's Everton.
"There had been a bit of press speculation saying that Mr Eriksson was going to be at the game, but I didn't know for sure," Parker recalls.
"It was only after the match had finsished that I heard he had been there on the day.
"I felt I played pretty well. We're doing so well at Charlton at the moment that it's pretty easy to fit and play well."
So what is the magic new ingredient that Parker has added to his game this season that has elevated him to one of the most effecive performers in his position in the Premiership?
"The main thing that my manager at club level has asked me to do this season is score a few more goals.
"I came into the side a couple of years ago and at that stage I knew I had to do a job for the team and be more of a defensive player. With the position I was playing then, slightly deeper, I knew i knew I had to add a little bit of steel to my game to stay in the side.
"Going on loan to Norwich just before I properly broke into the Charlton side was something that definitely helped me progress as a player - it made me grow up.
"More than anything else it toughened me up because I knew I had to put my foot in and look after myself to survive in the First Division and that's what I did.
"During that period of my progression I felt I needed to neglect the attacking side of my game for a bit while I concentrated on adding that defensive steel.
"It's only really been this year, now I'm a bit more established in the team, that the manager has asked me to push on a bit to try and get the odd goal.
"Naturally going forward is is definitely something that I'm comfortable doing," says the man who has grabbed three goals in eighteen league starts for the Addicks this season.
"When I used to play in the youth and reserve teams I was quite a regular goalscorer. One year I got 17 goals in the reserves so it was always part of my game and it's just a case of re-introducing it now."
Clearly this is a young man who thinks a lot about his game. He is determined to absorb everything he can from his time with England, and is consciously keeping his eyes and ears open.
"I'm here to learn," he explains. "Just being in the squad, whether I play or not, only good things can come out of being around the kind of people that I'm around here.
"There are players here that have been there and done it and you can only learn from them. That might be off the pitch, in terms of how to conduct yourself or just learning something new on it.
"My experience with the Under-21s has prepared me well because it's a good stepping stone to the full side.
"It's international football and that's so different to Premier League football. It's a different tempo, there's a lot more of a patient approach and everything surrounding the football is different too.
"You come away with a new bunch of lads and the way you live is different. That's something you've got to adapt to as quickly as possible. It may be something that sounds little, like different eating routines but it's things like that that determine how quickly you settle in. "
An international player has got to feel comfortable as quickly as possible because if you're at ease off the pitch you're obviously going to perform better on it."
Scott Parker was talking to Daniel Freedman
Will Scott make his England debut tonight? TheFA.com will break the first news of Sven's starting line-up around an hour before kick-off.