Wolves captain Conor Coady says his first senior England call-up is the latest step in an “amazing journey”.
Coady represented England from under-16 to under-20 level before his boyhood club Liverpool let him join Championship side Huddersfield in 2014.
He climbed back into the Premier League and is now in Gareth Southgate’s squad for Nations League games against Iceland and Denmark.
“To get the call now is incredible,” said the 27-year-old centre-back.
“I never thought too far ahead, I just focused on the present.
“I just wanted to keep playing football. I’m at a fantastic club and knew that if I kept working hard, things may come – and luckily it’s here now.
“It’s a phone call I’ll never forget. I was shaking and it’s such an honour to receive it.”
Coady captained England to victory at the Under-17 Euros in 2010 and was also captain at the Under-20 World Cup in 2013.
He then watched contemporaries Harry Kane, Eric Dier and John Stones graduate to the senior squad while he spent the 2013-14 season on loan at Sheffield United in League One.
Liverpool then sold him to Huddersfield before Wolves signed him in 2015 and he helped them win promotion to the Premier League in 2018.
When Nuno Espirito Santo took charge in 2017, he moved Coady into a three-man defence, a system which England coach Gareth Southgate favours.
“I watch every England game so I know how hard it is to get in this team,” Coady added.
“The past two years have been a dream. Now I’m here I want to embrace it and help this team as much as possible, whether that’s in training or games.”
England are away against Iceland on Saturday and then face Denmark in Copenhagen three days later.