The 32-year-old admits he has underperformed for his country in European Championships and World Cups and is keen to prove himself among the world's finest footballers.
"It's a must for me to qualify from a personal, selfish point of view. An absolute must," the England skipper told the Daily Mirror.
"On one level, it's about the chance to compete against the best sides and individuals on the planet.
"On another, it's about having that small chance of coming back as heroes in an England shirt, which I have never experienced.
"I have dreamt about it of course. I am sure everyone has. I have got close to it. Penalty shoot-outs in the last eight are close but not close enough.
"I don't feel I have done myself justice at a World Cup. I don't think any England player of this generation can think they have.
"If you spoke to the squad that came back after 1990, they could be satisfied with how close they came and that they did everything they could and had no regrets.
"But I have always come out of the tournaments with England with regrets that we haven't gone to that extra stage, the last four or the last two.
"I take some of the responsibility for that. I have always been honest and said I am part of that squad of 23 players that comes back having underachieved.
"You can't hide behind anyone, you have got to take it on the chin and get on with it."