• Euro 2012

Parker: This is my one and only chance

ESPN staff
June 23, 2012

England midfielder Scott Parker believes he may not get the chance to play at another major Finals, and is eager to make the most of what could be his only international tournament.

Parker, who will win his 17th cap for England in Sunday's Euro 2012 quarter-final against Italy, had made just three appearances, the last of which came in 2006, before his performances for West Ham United led to a recall last year.

Now Parker, who captained England under Stuart Pearce for February's friendly against Netherlands, is considered a first-choice selection for his nation after a fine season in a Tottenham Hotspur team that finished fourth in the Premier League.

But, at the age of 31 and with emerging talent such as Arsenal's Jack Wilshere, Parker knows he may not be still in Roy Hodgson's plans for the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

"I'm not getting younger so this may be my one time," he told the Sun. "My one time in a major tournament. My one and only crack at the big time.

"My one and only time to come up against the likes of [Antonio] Di Natale, [Daniele] De Rossi and [Andrea] Pirlo and show what I can do. Come on, think about it - the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, I'll be 33. I'll try my hardest to get there, but, realistically, this is really it.

"I have a role in this team and that's it. No, it's not glamorous but it is important. It lets Steven Gerrard play and dictate things and that's what it's about. How you win games is immaterial. When the end result is being through to the next round, you're not fussed how you do it.

"Sure, we all have a fascination with Spain. We all watch them and know how great they are, the best team I've ever seen. But we need to recognise our own qualities and strengths. I'd be lying to say we couldn't do a bit better going forward but we're still winning games. Ultimately, in competitions like this, that's the crucial thing.

"You can never underestimate that sort of quality, how much belief you can have from togetherness in a team and a siege mentality. That's what we have here. In abundance. And when we need to take control, we have the quality to do it.

"Sure, we need to be realistic but I've no intention of packing my bags on Monday and going home."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.