Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher says he is relishing the prospect of playing for England at international level again, following his shock call-up by Fabio Capello into his provisional 30-man squad for the World Cup.
The Liverpool centre-back retired from international football three years ago – after amassing 34 caps from 1999-2007 - having grown frustrated that he was no longer considered a first-choice stopper under Steve McClaren.
Carragher, who has made more than 400 league appearances for Liverpool, revealed that he had been tempted back into the international fray by The FA after a string of injuries left Capello with a defensive headache ahead of this summer's global showpiece in South Africa.
“The FA got in touch a few weeks ago and asked if I would have a rethink, due to injury problems,” he said.
“I said I would make myself available.”
As a result of finishing 7th in the Premier League, Liverpool will be playing in the Europa League instead of the Champions League next season - a marked contrast considering the Anfield giants finished second in 2008/09 and looked set to build upon that position this term.
And Carragher admitted that the Reds' disappointing form was partly behind his decision to seek a return to the international fold, aware of the fact that, at 32, this World Cup could prove his final chance to play for his country.
“The World Cup and Champions League are the highest levels of football,” he said.
“I'm not getting any younger, we have no Champions League football next season and I am keen to work under Fabio Capello.”
By Chris Conway