Jamie Carragher has thanked fans for welcoming him back into the fold.
Jamie Carragher has thanked England fans for the tremendous reception he was given at Wembley on his return to the national team.
Carragher, who asked not to be considered for England selection for the last few years, was given a warm welcome on his return to the fold against Mexico during a 3-1 victory and is now a serious contender for Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad.
The Liverpool defender, who came on in the second half against Mexico to cheers and applause, said: “I’d like to say a big thank you to the supporters for that. I could understand if the reception wasn't great because I've been out of it for three years of my own accord. But they were tremendous.
“There was a party atmosphere, the last home game before the World Cup and they wanted to send the players off to South Africa so I thought they were fantastic.”
Carragher now hopes to play some part against Japan in Austria on Sunday in a bid to force his way into the final 23 for South Africa.
“It was nice to be involved and come on against Mexico and I’m thankful the manager gave me a chance to play. It was nice to get on the pitch,” he said.
“But a lot can still happen. We've got another game so there is all to play for but I'm pleased I came on and hopefully that can give me a good chance of getting in the 23.”
Carragher admits he got a real buzz out of pulling on an England shirt for the first time in three years and wants supporters to know he never fell out of love with his country.
“I've always been excited about England ever since I started. I captained the Under-21s, I broke the record for the most caps for the Under-21s at the time,” he said.
“It was just towards the end of my time, the last couple of games, I'd come off the back of a couple of Champions League Final appearances, we'd won it once, and I just felt I deserved a bit of a go, a little bit more.
“That was no criticism of the manager at the time or the players. Maybe the players who played ahead of me might have felt the same if I had played.
“It was more so to concentrate on Liverpool. We'd reached two Champions League Finals. I wanted to do that again and win the league so a lot of it was to do with Liverpool, not so much being unhappy with England.
“But it’s great to be back. Every player wants to play in big games and massive occasions and playing in front of nearly 90,000 is always a massive occasion.
“I'm fortunate that I play for Liverpool and every game is like a cup final really so I'm used to that intensity and pressure, so I wouldn't say I've missed it because I probably have it on a weekly basis for Liverpool. But playing and coming on for England was big for me and everyone will tell you they want to play at that level.”