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Osman: I never gave up on England dream

Leon Osman admits he felt the dream of playing for his country slowly slip away, but he is ready to make the most of his chance with the England squad ahead of Wednesday's friendly with Sweden in Stockholm.

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Osman, 31, was selected to represent the Three Lions for the first time in his career and after making nearly 300 Premier League appearances, he is eager to finally make his national team debut.

The Everton midfielder was recently praised by Roy Hodgson and he hopes to repay the England boss's faith if given the opportunity.

"Roy said he had admired me for a few years and thought it was time to get me into the squad," Osman said. "I am delighted my form has been right for him to do that.

"I wouldn't say I'd given up. Although it was looking more and more unlikely, as an English lad I would never say never. It was something I was hopeful might happen and it's fantasatic to be here.

"If it's a one-off that's great but being the character, I want to be recognised, then get in the squad, then a cap. If I get one cap I'll want two. I won't settle for anything but if it turns out to be one cap I'll be delighted."

During international breaks, Osman is accustomed to being left behind at Goodison Park, but he is excited to change his plans after the call from Hodgson.

"It was a great moment [to get the call]," he said. "There's usually five of us left behind there. Me, Phil Neville, Sylvain Distin, Tony Hibbert and Steven Pienaar, who has retired from international football now.

"There's not much you can do. It's usually running. I'm sure they will miss me. I'm the lively one. But I'm a lot happier to be here I can tell you."

After facing Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard for a number of years in the Merseyside derby, Osman will retract his rivalry for the England skipper's milestone 100th international appearance.

"It's a great achievement to get to where he has got in the game and hopefully making his 100th cap," Osman said. "We've played against each other for Liverpool and Everton since we were young kids.

"I know the qualities he brings to the game: determinatoin, desire to win, passing. It's difficult to play against him, so it would be a delight to play with him I am sure."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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