With the carrot of a World Cup dangling in front of him, midfielder Jack Cork declared that dreams of representing his country in Russia will keep him motivated.
The 28-year-old remains one of only four ever-present English outfield players in the Premier League this season, totaling 2,430 minutes of game time for the Clarets.
The former Chelsea academy player, who is in an elite group alongside Brighton’s Lewis Dunk, Leicester City’s Harry Maguire and Swansea City’s Alfie Mawson, earned his first senior cap for the Three Lions in November.
Cork replaced West Brom’s Jake Livermore in the final five minutes of the goal-less draw with Germany at Wembley, completing the set having played for his nation from every age group from Under 16 to Under 21.
Speaking at the time, he said: “It’s amazing. I feel like I’ve done it the hard way, I’ve done my graft and played all the games from League 1, to Championship – put myself out there.
“I feel like I’ve played enough games to have merited a chance and I’m just really happy the manager has trusted me to get in there.
“It was amazing, one of the highlights of my career. Just to come out at Wembley, against Germany, in a big game like that and get on the pitch is a dream.”
And with Gareth Southgate’s side taking on the Netherlands and Italy next month, Cork is keen to stake his claim.
England play the Dutch in Amsterdam on March 23rd before hosting the Italians, who lost their World Cup play-off against Sweden, at the national stadium four days later.
“I’ve heard nothing yet,” said Cork, who has also represented Great Britain. “The next game is coming up soon. We’ll have to see. We’ve got to start winning games and I’ve got to keep playing well before I can even start thinking about it.
“They’ve got a lot of players coming back now knowing that the World Cup is coming up. There’ll be a lot of competition. It’ll give me the motivation to keep me going.”
Cork, though, won’t be getting too far ahead of himself ahead of Southgate’s squad selection.
“I don’t think I can think that far, I’ve had one call up and three minutes of playing, I was just grateful to Gareth Southgate for giving me that opportunity,” he said.
“Anything more for me would be a bonus. We were playing well and doing well as a team, the form was good and we were working hard and I managed to get a call with injuries.
“If we can keep the form going and I can keep playing well and the team can keep doing well then hopefully there will be another spot for me at some stage and maybe a couple more Burnley players.”
He added: “I think you just get a call nearer the time. I was having breakfast when I found out and I got a shout from the manager’s office.
“They’ve got a group chat for the players, but I think it will be closer to the time that anyone speaks to the gaffer and maybe lets him know.”