Leon Osman's story of how he sat his seven-year-old boy down in front of a television set for the news bulletin reporting his own England call-up is an incentive to any player who thinks his time as an international has passed.
His son, Cole, is already absorbed enough in the game to know that Osman's England prospects were slim. "I'm more relaxed than him, he's right next to the telly trying to head them in!" Osman related. Which made the moment all the finer. "He had been out on a school trip and by the time he came back I sat him down and put [the news] on for him. He had a confused look on his face. I said 'that's our name, you know.'"
The child's surprise was barely greater than his own, given that the player, aged 31, had long since "stopped worrying" about the call up – until last week, when Osman discerned that an unusual number of people had gathered beside the pitch as the training session at Everton's Finch Farm base concluded and the manager, David Moyes, had an announcement to make.
"He said that I was in the squad," Osman said. "There were head ruffles, a few kidney punches and other child stuff that come with it. All the staff were cheering from the sideline. It was a great moment." There has never been any nation other than England, despite his mother being a Turkish Cypriot. "No, I'm not Turkish, I'm not Cypriot, any of them. I would like to point that one out," he said.
His Greater Manchester secondary school was in Up Holland but his patriotism suggests he would not have put orange first either.
There is already a self-evident hunger in him not to be a one-squad wonder. "Being the character I am, I know that I would want to be recognised and get in the squad," he said. "And [then] I want a cap. And if I get one cap I'll want two." But for now he'll just take not being the one left behind at Finch Farm while the internationals strut their stuff.
"There's usually only four or five of us left behind there – me, Phil Nev, Sylvain Distain, Tony Hibbert and Steven Pienaar," Osman said. "I'm a lot happier to be here I can tell you. I'm sure they'll miss me, to be honest! I'm the lively one!"Reuse content