Ashley Cole believes he is finally being appreciated by fans after being voted England's player of the year for 2010 by supporters.
Fans, in a poll on www.thefa.com, voted for the Chelsea defender after an outstanding and consistent level of performances for his country.
It was the perfect tonic for Cole ahead of becoming England's most capped full-back in tomorrow's friendly international against Denmark in Copenhagen.
He will move onto 87 caps - one more than Kenny Sansom.
Cole told FATV: "I'm very privileged and proud and thankful to the fans.
"It's been hard for me at times, but now I think I've got their appreciation and I'm very grateful.
"It feels amazing to win the award. It came as a big surprise to me.
"I never thought I would get this award with all the other players who were in the running. I never thought it would be me."
Cole was the subject of intense booing after an error at Wembley gifted a goal to minnows Kazakhstan two years ago.
But he believes the reaction of the fans went deeper than that error.
He said: "I think it's hard because every player makes a mistake on the pitch. But I don't think it was about that mistake.
"I think it was a more personal thing so it hurt me even more.
"But every time I put on an England shirt, I try my hardest, I want to win, and I think in voting me player of the year the fans are starting to see that.
"I just want to play for my country and do everything I can to win."
Cole insists he still has targets to achieve with England.
He said: "Looking back I think I had a great season - I won the Premier League and the FA Cup and I was in the UEFA team of the season, and now I've won this award.
"For me it was a great year and I hope I can carry on keep getting caps and playing well for England and hopefully trying to win something for England and progress further than we have in the past.
"I want to play as long as I can for England.
"At the minute I'm level with a left-back (Sansom) who was an idol of mine and a great player.
"To hopefully take over that record on Wednesday night would be a great achievement."Reuse content