Phil Jagielka admits he has “mixed emotions” over John Terry's retirement from international football as he strives to cement his own spot in the England team.
Jagielka the England fan was disappointed the Chelsea skipper decided to stop making himself available for his country last month.
But Jagielka the ambitious defender who wants to play regularly for England knows it is one less obstacle to overcome in his desire to achieve that goal ahead of tomorrow's World Cup qualifier in Poland.
With Terry's long-time England colleague Rio Ferdinand currently not being selected by manager Roy Hodgson, the chance is there for Jagielka, Joleon Lescott and Gary Cahill to stake their claims.
Jagielka said: "I wouldn't say I was resigned to never playing regularly because of John and Rio.
"But that's the role you get put into when there are people in front of you who aren't particularly giving you the opportunity to get a game.
"What else can you do? It was just the situation I was in. Just turn up and hopefully be given a game.
"By the same extent, if the manager did decide to rest a couple of players in the previous years, when the international qualifiers came around again you would expect them to be playing again."
Jagielka added: "When John finished, I was gutted as an England fan. He has been a fantastic player for England, he's put his body on the line for many years now but he had his reasons.
"It was his decision. He wasn't forced as in like a gun to his head or anything. It was his choice.
"But if you look at it from a purely personal point of view, it was one less person to compete with playing for England. It was also an opportunity for me to try and go higher up the pecking order."
"I'd like to play on a more consistent basis."
Hodgson also has to decide who will be his left-back in Warsaw with Jagielka's club-mate Leighton Baines in strong contention with the 98-times capped Ashley Cole.
Baines has started all four internationals since Euro 2012 with Cole's ongoing ankle problem meaning he was rested for Friday's 5-0 win over San Marino.
Jagielka said: "I don't see there's any difference really. Ashley has performed at that level for a long time now and put himself up there as one of the world's top left-backs.
"But if you watch Bainesy enough, and he won't thank me for saying it, he's been by far our best player all season.
"A lot of the strikers take the plaudits but it's hard for a full-back to create as many chances as he has, more like a winger or a number 10. He's been amazing
"It is a test to see if he can stay at those levels and if he gets to stay in the team and keep performing as well as he has done, and possibly keep Ash out of the team."
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