West Ham United midfielder Joe Cole says he still harbours ambitions of an England return ahead of next summer’s World Cup.
Cole, who has not featured for the Three Lions since a substitute appearance in the 4-1 defeat by Germany at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, says he is focused on performing well for his club - and hopes a good run of form will catch the eye of manager Roy Hodgson.
He said: "The main thing for me is to get into the West Ham team, play as many games for them as I can; play well and then we’ll see what happens from there.”
Since making his debut in May 2001 against Mexico, the 31-year-old has represented England in each of the past three World Cups – and says it is normal for any player to have national team selection in the forefront of their minds during a World Cup season.
He said: “I think any Englishman, any English player, will be looking at that because it’s the pinnacle of a career to be going to a World Cup and perform for your country – it’s the best thing you can do.
“Any Englishman would have their eye on it, but for me, first and foremost is to be playing well for West Ham.”
Cole, who has played an active part in a busy pre-season schedule for the Hammers, was speaking after starting in West Ham’s 3-0 victory against Eintracht Braunschweig on Saturday.
The victory marked a successful end of West Ham’s three-game tour of Germany.
Sam Allardyce’s men now return to the UK for away fixtures against Southend United and AFC Hornchurch, before taking on Pacos de Ferreira at Upton Park in their final game of the close season.
West Ham kick-off their 2013/14 Premier League campaign on Saturday 17 August at home to Cardiff City.