American adventure leaves Young dreaming of Germany 2006

Click to follow
The Independent Football

The right-back was part of the full international squad for the first time over the summer in the United States, and was capped twice. With the Addicks striker Darren Bent the latest member of Alan Curbishley's players to be included in Eriksson's squad, hopes are high at The Valley that at least one of their players could even make it into the final World Cup party, should England qualify.

Young - signed from Tottenham for £4m in July 2001 - was named Charlton's player of the year last season. But he knows he will have to raise his game if he is to be in Eriksson's thoughts next summer.

The Addicks have made a positive start to the new Premiership campaign, winning their opening two matches, when Young has been captain because ofMatt Holland's absence.

Young, 26, said: "I'd be lying if I said the World Cup wasn't in the back of my mind.

"I know I'll have to pull up some trees and play even better than I did last year but at least, having been called up, I know you do get noticed at Charlton.

"It started with Chris Powell's call-up a few years ago. After that everyone realised that Sven was seriously looking outside of the Premiership's top clubs. That gave everyone at the club a real lift, and then there was my call-up and now Darren's."

Although only utilised as a late substitute in the victories over America and Colombia, Young feels the involvement has made him hungry for more.

"For me it was a great experience to get to know the England training regime and set-up, now at least if I get the call again, I know what to expect," Young said. "Training with the country's best players is a great opportunity to test yourself.

"After that you can assess how close you are to that higher level of play. I'm realistic enough to know that when I got my call-up there were a lot of injuries, but I still hope I can be part of Eriksson's plans.

"I know now I have to produce a season better than last year if I have a realistic chance of getting more caps."

Bent, 21, is currently the Premiership's leading scorer after adding the winning strike against Wigan to the double he netted at Sunderland on the opening day of the new season.

Young is in no doubt the England Under-21 regular could make the step up into the full side.

"Darren knows if he wants more success at England level, he'll need to keep banging the goals in for Charlton. So, it's a big boost for him and the club," said Young. "Whatever level he plays at he'll score goals, he's a constant threat. He gives us that extra edge and can get us a goal out of nothing, which is something we've lacked a bit."

With no midweek Premiership match because of Liverpool's Champions' League commitments, Charlton are not in action until the trip to Middlesbrough on Sunday. Curbishley is hoping the extra time will allow some of his injured players the chance to catch up on their fitness work with a game in the reserves against Norwich at The Valley tomorrow night.

The defender Jonathan Spector - on a season-long loan from Manchester United - is expected to feature as he recovers from a hamstring problem and a virus, and, if all goes well, he could make his competitive debut at The Riverside.