LEE CATTERMOLE hopes he can return to the international stage in a new-look England set-up.
The Sunderland midfielder represented his country from Under-15 to U21 levels and was part of the side which reached the final of the 2009 U21 European Championships.
But despite a superb run of form since the final months of last season, a senior cap continues to elude Cattermole after he was left out of Roy Hodgson’s squad for England’s two games earlier this month.
With Hodgson including the likes of Fabian Delph and ex-Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback in his squad though, Cattermole senses an opportunity.
He said: “I was not disappointed to be left out but you see the lads getting opportunities now, for me that has to be a motivation.
“In recent years, it is not something for me to be too interested in because of the names that were playing - the Gerrards and the Lampards.
“But you look at the boys who have got in and who are playing well and that is something I am trying to achieve.
“It has become a goal for me getting into the squad. England is going through that cycle of change right now.
“It is a great opportunity for the lads who are there now but also for the lads who are looking to get there - like Tom Huddlestone, Mark Noble, who I played with for the U-21s and myself - that is what we are now looking for.
“That is something we probably would not have been able to do in the past.
“It would mean an awful lot to me to get a call-up.
“Every English player would be lying if they said they were not looking to play for England. The wider perception is that players don’t care but a lot of the time, it is just trying to be cool around each other, not letting on how much you really do care.”
Cattermole is not the only England hopeful in Sunderland’s squad and the 26-year-old realises that success for the Black Cats will only increase their chances of securing a place in Hodgson’s plans.
He added: “We’ve got a few English players here - Jack Rodwell, Adam Johnson, Connor Wickham and me – so I’d like to think Roy Hodgson will come up.
“It is up to us to go out there and play well.
“If we perform well, it can raise a few eyebrows and that can only benefit all of us. If we help each other, that is the aim, that is what we have got to do.
“If we play well and are winning, it makes all our individual games so much easier.”