By Paul Brown
Ashley Young admits the desolation of missing the World Cup inspired him to become a major player for England.
Young was dejected to find out he wasn't selected in the final squad for South Africa in the summer but instead of moping he used the heartache to fire him on to international recognition.
Villa's wing wonder has certainly achieved that, playing a part in all eight games since the major finals.
He was in stunning form against Denmark, Wales and Ghana in the last three matches and wants a continuation of that as England look to see off Switzerland in the latest Euro 2012 qualifier at Wembley on Saturday.
He said: "I've said from the disappointment of the World Cup that the focus for me has been to get back in the squad. I've been in every squad since which has been fantastic.
"The last two games I've started and feel like I've done well and done myself justice with the way I've played.
"Hopefully, fingers crossed on Saturday, I'm in the starting line-up again. I aim to be a regular starter in the national team and hopefully I will be in the team again for this latest game.
"Missing the World Cup definitely gave me the impetus to improve and force my way back into the fold. But that's back in the past now. I've got to look forward to the future and concentrate on things happening right now.
"We've got a massive game this weekend and that's where it is, that's the next massive hurdle for me to play in. Fingers crossed I'll be in the team."
Suggestions have been made in the past that joker Young isn't the same jovial character with England as he is with Villa - and that his chances have suffered as a result.
Young refutes that, insisting he's always felt comfortable on Three Lions duty.
He accepts, however, that the displays in the last three matches have given him a surge of confidence as he looks to make himself a regular fixture in Fabio Capello's XI.
He added: "I did feel I wasn't playing for England like I did for Villa but in the last three games it's been good.
"I always feel relaxed when we meet up though and it's always like that with the squad as a whole.
"Everybody's made to feel welcome and you just want to go out and put on a good display.
"In the last three games I felt I've done that and done myself justice.
"I think from the time I was in the squad I have always had confidence in my own ability that I can play on this stage. In the game against Denmark I was delighted to get on the scoresheet and felt really comfortable and then with the two starts against Wales and Ghana I felt I had done myself justice."
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