England vs San Marino: Nathaniel Clyne ready to make the right-back shirt his own despite not yet making his England debut

Clyne looks set to start against San Marino after John Stones was ruled out of the Wembley European Championship qualifier

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The Independent Online

Nathaniel Clyne has yet to make his England debut but the right-back is already targeting a regular role in Roy Hodgson's starting line-up.

A fine start to the campaign with Southampton was rewarded last week by a first call-up to the senior side for the upcoming European Championship qualifiers against San Marino and Estonia.

A starting berth in those matches is not out of the question for the uncapped defender, with the experienced Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker joined on the sidelines by John Stones.

The Everton defender started at right-back in England's last two matches but withdrew from the squad on Sunday after sustaining an ankle problem, meaning Clyne could be thrown in at the deep end.

"I need to go there and the training sessions and show what I am about and hopefully I will get my chance and start for England," the Saints right-back said.

 

"The aim is to take step by step but I am not here for fun and games. I am here to nail my colours to the mast and hopefully I will take that right-back position and make it my own.

"I am not really focused on who is in or who is out, who is injured or not. I am just focusing on myself and if I am doing well then hopefully I will get a chance, like I have done, and play well when I get an opportunity."

Clyne is the only uncapped player in Hodgson's squad, although he is unlikely to be overawed due to the number of familiar faces.

He played alongside a number of the squad at England Under-21s level, while he knows the likes of Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Calum Chambers and Fraser Forster from Southampton.

Like them, Clyne wants to show he is "capable of wearing the jersey" after receiving the pleasantly surprising news last week.

"The call up still came as a surprise to me," he said.

"I am still up and coming in the game and I still need to improve on my game. Hopefully this will be another step for me, to play for England, and hopefully I will improve.

"I am buzzing and I can't wait to get started and join in with the lads. They are world-class players and to see what they are like in training and hopefully I can match up to that."

John-Stones.jpg
John Stones played well against Switzerland

Clyne says the confidence to kick on this campaign has been instilled in him by Southampton manager Ronald Koeman, who recently said he was one of the best right-backs he has ever coached.

Such praise highlights how far the Crystal Palace academy graduate has come in a relatively short period of time, as does a tweet from former team-mate Kieron Cadogan saying Clyne used to doubt he would make it at Selhurst Park on the journey to training.

"I have been on a long journey and making it through the Crystal Palace ranks and I was not selected that much for the team," he said.

"I was fortunate to get into the team and when I did I made my mark and got through and now I am playing for Southampton and doing really well."

PA

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