Date: 11th October 2007 at 10:30am
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Gareth Barry, who is looking set to keep his place in the England midfield despite Frank Lampard returning to fitness, says ‘I’d never take my place for granted with England.’

He says with other injuries it has given him his chance but knows ‘The pressure is always there with England, no matter what happened in the last game. I realise there are expectations there now but I’ve been around the game long enough to realise that. The fans here expect me to perform at high levels every week anyway so it will be no different for my country.’

He adds that he is joining up with the England squad with confidence after his recent performances.

And puts his re-entry to the international scene down to the Villa boss.

‘Martin O’Neill has been very good to me. One of the first things he said to me when he arrived at Villa 14 months ago was ‘if you stay here with me, you’ll improve a player and you’ll eventually get your England call-up again’. He is a quality person, someone you listen to and he has been proven right in what he said, which goes to show what a good manager he is. At that time, I was facing a big decision, whether to try moving to a new club, whether it would be good for my career. But when I heard Martin O’Neill was arriving, that got me thinking straight away, even before I spoke to him, that it maybe best for me to stay around and that has been the case.’

He also told Sky Sports ‘I do feel I am playing as well as I ever have.’

There is a video interview with him on the official site if you are subscribed: Click Here

England to win against Estonia and the men with the odd shaped balls to beat France on the night. Happy days!