Downing eyes England recall
Stewart Downing hopes to use Aston Villa's Europa League campaign as a way to reclaim his England spot.
Last Updated: 18/08/10 9:16am
Stewart Downing hopes to use Aston Villa's Europa League campaign as a way to reclaim his spot in the England squad.
The left-winger failed to make manager Fabio Capello's final cut for the Three Lions' World Cup campaign in South Africa, prompting him to hit out at the Italian coach.
But despite being overlooked this summer, 26-year-old Downing is confident he can don the England jersey once again.
"Obviously the World Cup was disappointing for England, but I'm sure there are a lot of players who are thinking they've got a chance of getting back in the squad. That definitely includes me," Downing told the Daily Express.
"I'll never give up on England. I would love to play again. It's great playing for your country.
"I'll just keep my head down, play well and if he gives me a chance I've got to grab it."
Downing refuses to dwell on his exclusion from the South Africa squad, insisting he is fully focused on doing well for Villa this season.
"I said at the time that I was disappointed at the way it was done," he added. "But there is no point in moaning about it. You just get on with it.
"The only thing I can do is play well for Aston Villa, that's the only way you're going to get into the squad.
"If he picks me it's a bonus, if he doesn't I'm not going to lose any sleep over it."
Villa get their Europa League campaign underway against Rapid Vienna in Austria on Thursday.
And Downing, who enjoyed a run to the 2006 final with Middlesbrough, insists caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald will not be taking the tournament lightly.
"Every game we want to win and the Europa League is a good competition," he added.
"I played in it at Middlesbrough and played in some fantastic games. It raises the club's profile and players' profile.
"And knowing Kev, I'm sure he'll want to win that game and there will be a strong squad going out there."