Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas is certain that Steven Caulker has a long international career ahead of him despite the defender being left out of Roy Hodgson's latest England squad.
Caulker, who spent last season on loan at Swansea, has impressed Villas-Boas so much during his short time at White Hart Lane that he has jumped ahead of captain Michael Dawson in the Spurs pecking order.
The 20-year-old has started four of Tottenham's last five games and his performances during the Olympics earned him a call-up to the England squad for August's friendly win against Italy.
With John Terry now out of the England reckoning, Spurs coach Steffen Freund claimed recently that Caulker could be an ideal replacement for the Chelsea defender. But yesterday Hodgson opted to call up Stoke's Ryan Shawcross for the qualifiers against San Marino and Poland while Caulker was named in the under-21 squad.
Villas-Boas, who started Caulker in Spurs' 1-1 draw against Panathinaikos in the Europa League last night, is sure it will only be a matter of time before the young centre-half will be wearing the Three Lions of England on a regular basis.
"I think for Steven it will be a privilege to play for the first team of England, for sure," the Spurs head coach said.
"If it came sooner it would be a more important achievement, but I don't see (him being left out) as any kind of negative.
"We certainly believe a lot in the player. That's why we decided to extend his career and that's why he played at Old Trafford and against Lazio.
"I think he is showing exactly the competence and the talent that he has and he will triumph in the future."
Who replaces Terry in the national team has been the source of great debate recently, with Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill and Joleon Lescott all being mentioned as possible candidates.
Villas-Boas is a big admirer of Terry having seen his qualities at first hand during his time in charge of Chelsea and he admits replacing the Blues skipper will be hard for Hodgson.
"(Whoever replaces Terry) is walking in the footsteps of probably the greatest English central defender in the last decade so it's a difficult position for England," Villas-Boas said.
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