Matthew Upson's first taste of life inside the 'goldfish bowl' that is the Engla
Matthew Upson's first taste of life inside the 'goldfish bowl' that is the England football team has not put him off in the slightest - it has merely increased his appetite for playing at the pinnacle of the game...
The Birmingham defender performed creditably in England's 2-1 win over Slovakia to end an amazing season for the 24-year-old.
Until he was sold to Birmingham in January, where he made an immediate impression in helping the Blues to Barclaycard Premiership survival, he had been a fringe player at Arsenal. But many regard his departure from Highbury as a reason why the Gunners blew the title race and Upson has now ended the season playing in his first senior competitive match for England.
He said: "It was the biggest game of my career so far and once you taste a game like that it's difficult not to want more. That's something I have got to keep aiming for and working for.
"It was very enjoyable against Slovakia and thankfully it turned out to be a good result and I was pleased with how I performed - I felt I didn't look out of place.
"I got a great deal of satisfaction from the match, made a couple of very important tackles, and it was nice to show people what I'm capable of doing."
Whether that was a reference to Arsene Wenger only Upson knows, but he knows that the real test comes now - keeping his place in the squad when Rio Ferdinand, Gary Neville and Sol Campbell return from injury.
Upson added: "Of course I have still got a lot of hard work ahead of me. I have to keep improving if I am going to make progress and that is especially true at England level.
"It has been a huge learning process. Being with the national team is a bit like being in a goldfish bowl but that hasn't put me off at all.
"You have to learn to deal with it and I don't have any worries on that front."
Matthew Upson - The Stat Pack
Place of Birth: Hartismere, England
Date of Birth: 18 April 1979
Weight: 11 04
Height: 6' 1''
Club: Birmingham City