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Countdown: Darren Anderton

English Barclays Premiership

Darren Anderton has set his sights on an England recall after looking after number one for a change. The midfielder took the advice of his surgeon and pulled out of the running for this summer's European Championships to give a nagging Achilles problem a rest.

The break looks to have done him the world of good and he has won the praise of boss George Graham for his performances in pre-season - the latest included the second goal against Vitesse Arnhem in Saturday's 2-0 friendly win.

The 28-year-old now has a return to the international scene on his agenda with England's World Cup qualifying campaign kicking-off in September.

Anderton said: "I want to get back into the England set up, of course. The decision to pull out of the running for Euro2000 wasn't made by me as such, I actually gave that decision to someone else, the surgeon, and went with it. In the past I haven't done that. I was actually looking after myself.

"It was a precautionary thing more than anything. I felt the problem a couple of times as the grounds got harder at the end of last season and although it wasn't a serious problem, it was initially a very serious injury and I'm not willing to take chances any more.

"Naturally it was a big disappointment but if I have an injury free time this season it will all be worth it. It feels good and I've had no problems so far."