Hunt targets England place
By Andrew Scurr
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Nicky Hunt hopes to be Gary Neville's long-term replacement at right-back for England.
Bolton defender Nicky Hunt hopes to be Gary Neville's long-term replacement at right-back for England.
Hunt has been a regular in the Bolton line-up this season despite, by his own admission, having a dip in form before Christmas, and has set himself a target of claiming a place in Steve McClaren's squad.
The 23-year-old believes England is a realistic aim if he continues to perform in the Premiership week in, week out for The Trotters.
"Obviously, Gary's probably been England's most consistent player over the years, a great defender, but no-one can play forever," Hunt said.
"It should be an incentive to anyone who is English and playing at right-back in the Premiership to try and get a call-up.
"It's in the back of your mind trying to impress (the England manager), but you can't let it affect your game.
"If you don't play for your club then you don't get picked for your country, so I just have to carry on playing for Bolton, doing what I'm doing.
"Hopefully everything will take care of itself in the next few years, and I feel it's a realistic ambition."
Bolton are chasing a European spot at the end of the campaign and boss Sam Allardyce used their final team meeting of the season to galvanise his players.
Allardyce's side had lost three straight prior to the 1-0 win over Sheffield United at The Reebok Stadium last time out.
"He said it's 'millimetres not miles' as to where we have been going wrong," added Hunt. "If we can pick things up and get those millimetres right then we will be fine.
"But the meeting was good, a pick-you-up to explain to us where we could finish this season, our realistic targets.
"The two targets are Champions League or Uefa Cup, and we have to deliver this season otherwise it will be a massive disappointment."