Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish is hoping his first England call-up and playing with some of the Premier League’s biggest stars will help progress his career to the next level.
Grealish was given his first England call-up following the withdrawals of Marcus Rashford and Harry Winks from Gareth Southgate’s squad on Monday.
The 24-year-old could make his international debut in England’s Nations League matches against Iceland and Denmark, which are both being shown live on Sky Sports.
The Villa captain says he looks forward to learning from, rather than competing against, the likes of Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane.
“I believe in my own ability and I’m confident I can perform at international level,” Grealish told The Sun.
“But I also want to improve and I’m eager to learn what it takes to be a success at this level.
“If anything, I believe the better the players you play with or against, then the better you will perform yourself. I’ve always believed that.
“When you look around the England squad, they are not just the best players in the country – they are the best in the world.
“I’ve played against these guys when they’ve been playing for Liverpool, Manchester City and Spurs, with not a lot of success!
“Now I can’t wait to actually train beside them and, hopefully, team up with the likes of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Trent Alexander-Arnold, rather than trying to stop them.
“I know I can become an even better player by learning from these amazing players.
“I want to show the manager what I’m all about, play to the best of my ability and, hopefully, keep my place in the squad.
“Sure, I had planned and hoped it would happen earlier in my career.
“Five years ago Roy Hodgson was on the verge of selecting me after I chose to represent England instead of Ireland.
“But our next games were against the Republic of Ireland and Scotland and it was put on hold. That was frustrating. Now all I want is the chance to show what I can do – it’s the biggest challenge of my career and I can’t wait.
“Hopefully playing with the best players in the country will bring out the best in me.”