Marseille man eyes England call-up

Derby County defender Tyrone Mears says he is hopeful that playing abroad for Marseille will enhance his chances of gaining international honours. The full-back made the controversial move from Pride Park to the south of France at the end of the summer transfer window, joining the Ligue 1 club on a season-long loan.

Although the 26-year-old has played a bit-part role at the Stade Velodrome so far this season, his extra-time goal against Ajax last week secured the French side's place in the UEFA Cup quarter-finals.

And now the former Preston and West Ham man is hopeful his experience playing abroad will improve his chances of gaining international recognition under Fabio Capello.

"It was my choice to leave Derby County where I got good wages," Mears told Aujourd'hui Sport. "I didn't want to play at the bottom of the league [with Derby]. So I asked to leave. The Marseille officials came and got me. "I came to l'OM to play in Europe and to [help them] top the L1 ranking. To me Marseille is a springboard to the English team, which is a big motivation.

"I can now understand why so many young French players are hired by English top teams."