Craig Gardner has signalled his intention to break into the senior England squad during his first season at Sunderland.
The 24-year-old midfielder arrived at the Stadium of Light from Birmingham last month after much soul-searching in the wake of his home-town club's relegation from the Barclays Premier League. However, Gardner's desperation to stay in the top flight and to win recognition on the international front prompted him to choose the Black Cats.
He said: "When you join a club, you want to know where they want to go and I knew where they wanted to go. They told me which players they were going to bring in, and the players they have brought in, that's singing from the same hymn sheet as me because I want to play for England this year."
He added: "I want to really, really improve on my career and to do that, you have got to have top quality players around with experience like they have. It's a top club.
"If you are doing well as a club, that means you have got more chance of getting into the England team. But forget England for the minute - I want to really, really do well at Sunderland."