After one false start, Anthony Gardner last week achieved his ambition of adding 'England international' to his professional title.
The in-form central defender was expected to win his first cap after being called up for the November friendly against Denmark at Old Trafford, but was forced to return home due to injury. The disappointment of that was pretty much erased last Wednesday night when he got the nod at half-time to play the second half against Sweden and put himself in England coach Sven Goran Eriksson's thoughts for Euro 2004.
"In the end it was nice to get a bit of the game," reflected Anthony back at Spurs Lodge, adding that the honour is as much for his family as himself. "I enjoyed it, I enjoyed being out there and getting the experience. It is what I have always wanted, to play for my country and it has now been achieved.
"It is definitely one for family and friends, especially my mum. I didn't have the chance to talk to her for long when I got back because she was at work - but will later. She is very happy that I got the chance to play."
Anthony revealed that he was not informed beforehand that he would definitely feature in the second period, but suspected he would get an opportunity.
"I knew there was a chance I would get on because I was on the bench and the manager could use 11 substitutes. Half-time came and Sammy Lee said that me and Gareth Southgate were coming on. It was nice to have Gareth alongside me, he is a good talker and obviously very experienced.
"He spoke to me before and told me to listen and we'd be alright. To have him there with me was good."
Friendly internationals have come in for some criticism in recent times for the amount of players used over the 90 minutes. Understandably, Anthony is not about to dispute the value of the occasions, pointing out that injuries can occur at any time and the coach needs to have tested his options.
"We all want to win and the fans want to see us win, but it is also about giving people chances. I know there is a big tournament coming up and you need stability in the team but, at the same time, you never know what is going to happen in the league with players getting injuries and knocks.
"It can happen at any time, even just before the tournament, and the manager needs to have a look at other people in friendlies."