The Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott has twin ambitions going into the final phase of the season. He wants to help the club secure a top-four finish in the Premier League and in the process clinch a place in England's World Cup squad.
Lescott, now over a knee injury, is determined to catch the eye of the national team manager Fabio Capello after being a substitute for the win over Egypt at the start of this month. "No one enjoys being on the bench, whether for your country or your club," he said. "If you do, then you deserve to be there. I was disappointed, but I didn't go there expecting to play. I know I've got to progress and improve at club level, then hopefully when an opportunity comes I can do a job. But I'm pleased with the way things are going since I came back.
"This is a massive opportunity for us at City and for me as an international – hopefully, we can continue our form, get fourth place, and I can go off to South Africa."
Capello has favoured Rio Ferdinand and John Terry as the central defensive partnership but Lescott has not given up hope of breaking through. "He obviously thinks I'm in the top 24 players in the country, so you've got to be pleased to a certain extent," Lescott said. "But again, if you're there, you want to be playing. You get picked at international level on your club form, so that's going to be a massive part of the run-in. If we can progress and get to the Champions League, then I'm sure that can only help me."
Meanwhile, the Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon is "very annoyed" at stories linking him with a move to City, according to his agent. Reports in England claim City are ready to offer €35m (£32m) to land Buffon after this summer's World Cup.
"Gigi is very annoyed because those rumours have no foundation," said the agent, Silvano Martina. The 32-year-old Buffon, who is out injured and will only return later this month, is under contract with Juve until June 2013.
Dr Nicola Brewer explains how the British High Commission in South Africa is preparing for the 2010 World Cup:
As part of preparations for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, staff at the British High Commission in Pretoria ran a consular emergency planning exercise with staff from the FCO's Crisis Response Centre in London: