Newcastle defender Steven Taylor has revealed that he never had a chance of an England call-up under Fabio Capello as the Italian thought he was a midfielder.
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Taylor, 27, who has been in fine form for his club, was drafted into Roy Hodgson's squad for the upcoming games against San Marino and Montenegro, following an injury to Gary Cahill.
Central to Newcastle's fine defensive form early last season, the centre-back says that finding out about Capello's ignorance towards him left a substantial dent in his confidence.
"Last season [Capello] didn't come [to see Newcastle] when we had the best defensive record up to Christmas," he told the Guardian. "The gaffer went to some event and Capello was there and he said: 'You should come up and see Taylor'. And Capello said: 'I'm all right for midfielders'. That did a lot for my confidence, it was almost back to the feeling I had when we got relegated."
Despite the knock-back from Capello, Taylor's commitment to the England cause has not waned, and the former Under-21 captain says he would go to extraordinary lengths in order to earn his first cap.
"I would run through brick walls to play for my country," he told the Independent. "It would be the proudest moment in my career and if it comes, I would be absolutely delighted, over the moon, call it what you want. I will be there. You cannot get any higher than playing for your country."
Although delighted with the news of the call-up, Taylor admits he thought someone was playing a prank on him at first.
"I was lying in bed watching TV, and my phone rang. I didn't recognise the number, and didn't answer," he told the Chronicle. "I then got a text from Lee Charnley [club secretary] congratulating me - but I didn't know what he was congratulating me for! My phone went again and I answered it. I thought it was someone taking the mick! I thought one of the lads had got their missus to ring me!
"The last few years have been tough with injuries. There's been a lot of hard work, but it's paid off. I've got to thank the physios, the gaffer and my team-mates for helping me get there. I've got to say a big thank you."
He added: "I'm ready if I get the chance. It's an honour to get here with the players around me. The lads have been brilliant with me. The tempo's been great, and it's great to be around the lads. I'm feeling great. It's a massive two games. We've got San Marino, which everybody thinks is going to be easy, but we can't take anything for granted, and then Montenegro. Hopefully, we'll get two wins."