Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Parker Can End England Exile

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Parker Can End England Exile

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Scott Parker will be given the chance to win a long-awaited return to international action this weekend as Steve McClaren prepares to evaluate the Newcastle midfielder's performance against Villarreal before finalising his first England squad.

The 25-year-old has enjoyed an eventful summer having been named as the new captain at St James's Park and having set his sights on ending his Three Lions exile during the course of the forthcoming campaign, a player long overlooked by Sven-GUran Eriksson will be thrilled to discover that he is already in the thoughts of the Swede's successor.

McClaren officially began work at the FA's London headquarters this week and has made solving the imbalance in the England midfield one of his top priorities.

The former Middlesbrough manager is determined to explore all options before naming a squad for the maiden match of his tenure, against Greece on August 16. And Alan Shearer's Gallowgate successor is a player he is anxious to assess.

The former Stamford Bridge midfielder will be keen to impress when he lines up against the Spaniards in Saturday's friendly at St James's Park.

McClaren will be in the crowd and will monitor Parker's efforts with great interest.

Although it was Eriksson who gave Parker his international debut, the Scandinavian quickly lost faith in the combative schemer and discarded him after just two appearances.

A player who joined United in a pounds 6.5m transfer from Chelsea last summer has not pulled on an England shirt for more than two years, despite enjoying an impressive debut campaign in the North East.

Although Parker earned rave reviews in Magpies colours last season, Eriksson refused to reconsider his position and continued to overlook one of Premiership football's most-consistent central midfielders. And while the player has remained diplomatic about the issue, he has long been determined to prove the Swede wrong.

"It's something which has always been on my mind," he told The Journal last month. "I think I said it a number of times last year as well ( if I can just concentrate on playing well for Newcastle, then hopefully that will be a springboard and England will come from that. …

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