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Everton midfielder Arteta not ready to declare for England

Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta has ruled out declaring himself for England.

The 28-year-old Spaniard was close to a call-up last year but a knee injury ruined his chances and the former Rangers star is behind the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso and Cesc Fabregas in the pecking order.

Having lived in England for more than five years, Arteta qualifies for the Three Lions through residency rules and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard would love to play alongside his Merseyside rival at international level.

But Arteta, from San Sebastian, is not about to throw in the towel in his battle to pull on the famous red shirt.

He said: "It's really hard and I don't know if the chance will ever come. Maybe I'm not good enough. We have unbelievable players in my position who are playing for big teams.

"In the World Cup final I think there were seven players from Barcelona in the team who play together every week.

"I still think I can do it. The coaches phoned me a few times after I did my cruciate. It's a shame because I know I've been really close.

"I'm still at a good age to achieve it but it is really tough."

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