"I just want to play at the top level and if that opportunity came I don’t think it is something I could turn down," says Burnley defender James Tarkowski
The 27-year-old, who was the subject of a £20m bid from West Ham United on Friday, feels that he may have to make a switch domestically if he is to be re-considered for an England call.
Tarkowski, who hasn't featured for his country since a 1-0 win over Switzerland at the king Power Stadium almost two years ago, was recently overlooked by Gareth Southgate yet again, a setback that has forced him to weigh up his future.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, he said: “For me, with the age I am coming into my prime years and wanting to progress, I want to go for the top level.
“I want to play at the best level I can, club football and internationally. I want to test myself against the best. We will see what happens.
"I just want to play at the top level and if that opportunity came I don’t think it is something I could turn down.
“Champions League and playing for your country, playing in big tournaments, is playing at the top level, so that’s what I would want to do if the opportunities came.”
Tarkowski had been considered to be one of the best performing defenders in the country last term having contributed to 15 clean sheets for the Clarets.
The centre back's statistics had measured up globally as well having been included in the whoscored.com European team of the season.
The former Brentford man partnered Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk in a side that featured Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Robert Lewandowski and Timo Werner.
However, he was surprisingly omitted from the latest Three Lions squad for the Nations League games away in Iceland and Denmark.
“I do feel a little bit like I’ve been forgotten about,” said Tarkowski, speaking to the Daily Mail. “And that’s nothing against the lads who have been in front of me because they’ve probably had all really good seasons themselves.
"I just felt I had a really good season and the statistics looked in my favour. I was in the team that kept the second-most clean sheets, so defensively I was right up there.
“I expected to be closer than I was. Other squads, I had accepted I probably wouldn’t be involved because it was the same squad, but after the break and who was missing, maybe I just expected to be in a bit more than previously. This one was more disappointing than others.”
Southgate added Eric Dier, Tyrone Mings and Joe Gomez to his defensive pool and - upon the expected withdrawal of Manchester United's Harry Maguire - the Three Lions boss gave Conor Coady his first international call.
Tarkowski, who was the subject of a £20million bid from West Ham United last Friday, feels that he's being wrongly pigeonholed as a 'kick it and head it' type of defender because of the stereotypes surrounding Sean Dyche's Burnley.
“It is a lazy opinion in my view," he said. "I played a style of football at one team at Brentford which is maybe the complete opposite of what I’m playing now at Burnley, so I feel I’ve got a few strings to my bow.
“I think any professional footballer can play a ball to his left-back, get it back and play it back to his keeper. The question is can he play under pressure? Which I believe I can and I proved it at Brentford.
"We don’t play as much like that at Burnley, but it doesn’t mean I can’t go into a team that plays expansive football.”