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Darren's delight

Posted on 5 November 2001  - 12:00

Tottenham Hotspur (Spurs) Football Club is located in North London. The club is also known as Spurs. Tottenham's home ground is White Hart Lane. The club motto is Audere est Facere (To dare is to do).

Darren Anderton has once again overcome his personal lows to get back on the international scene - this time he hopes to stay there all the way to the World Cup finals.

Our in-form midfielder was named in Sven Goran Eriksson's latest England squad this afternoon for Saturday's friendly against Sweden at Old Trafford.

It's almost a year since the 29-year-old won the last of his 29 caps when he appeared as a substitute in the friendly against Italy.

This season he's battled back from a tough, three-month stay in America for more Achilles surgery to start in all-but two of our 14 games - having come off the bench and been rested for the Worthington Cup tie against Torquay United in the other two.

His name has been linked with an England return for a while now but the speculation ended this afternoon when he was named in a squad of 26 for Old Trafford.

A delighted Darren beamed: "I don't take anything for granted but it's nice when I look back to the summer when I was in America, I was down and all the hard work, it's nice to be rewarded. It's a really nice bonus for me.

"At that time all I was thinking about was playing football again, let alone playing for England.

"So soon into the season and to be back in the squad is something I probably didn't expect and I'm delighted."

Darren underwent a procedure in America where a slight tear on the tendon was pricked to make it bleed and help the healing process. He then spent a month in a protective boot.

How tough was it out there? "I was low, definitely," he said. "When I was in America that was tough.

"I was over there in the summer and I remember that England were playing games, my contract hadn't been sorted out and it was tough not quite knowing what was happening.

"That's all part of football I'm afraid - highs and lows. I've had plenty of both.

"In the end I was out there for three months. I do know people out there, friends of mine, so I was able to visit them most weekends. But it was difficult."

He's had his critics, not least over his injuries, so did Darren see this recall as the chance to stick two fingers up at them?

He reflected: "People have had a go about my injuries but not too many have slaughtered me about the way I play.

"Obviously the injuries have been a pain for me because all I want to do is play football. I'm doing that, playing in what I think is a good team who are playing well and this is a reward for that."

And, long-term, what about next summer's World Cup? "I'm like everyone else," he explained.

"I know the team did brilliantly to qualify for the World Cup and who doesn't want to play for England?

"It's always been something I've enjoyed and I feel lucky that I've been able to play for England and to be back in the squad, I feel very lucky. Of course, I would love to stay in there."

By Paul Miles