Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin admitted he is a realising his childhood dream after being drafted into the England squad.
Calvert-Lewin has been in scintillating form in the early stages of the 2020-21 campaign, scoring nine times in just six games in all competitions, which has led to a first senior call-up for the friendly against Wales followed by Nations League fixtures against Belgium and Denmark.
“It’s a kid’s dream to play for the country and I’m very privileged to be here now,” he said.
“I don’t think you can ever plan how you’re going to feel when you first get called up for your country and for me I’ve thought about it for a long time and I’ve worked extremely hard to get here.
“I was obviously concentrating on playing for Everton and winning games. As the time nears you hope you might be in the manager’s thoughts to be called up to your country.
“For me to be here, it’s something that I have thought long and hard about and dreamed of for a long time.”
The arrival into the England camp of Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho has been delayed following reports the trio attended a party in breach of coronavirus restrictions.
It is another headache for manager Gareth Southgate, who had warned his players to be on their best behaviour after Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood were sent home for breaching protocols while on England duty in Iceland last month.
Calvert-Lewin said: “It’s a difficult time. The boys have apologised and that’s first and foremost what they needed to do but we all understand what it means to play for the country and you have to remember that at all times.
“It’s a tough situation but they’ve apologised so you have to move on.
“We had a welcome meeting (on Monday) and (Southgate) just reminded us what it means and the expectations of playing for England and you have to be extra, extra careful and follow the rules.
“It’s a unique moment in time and we always have to be extra attentive to those rules, and that’s the way it is when you’re representing your country.”