At 32, the England and Tottenham midfield player acknowledges that the opportunities are now limited — which is why he takes extra motivation into this afternoon’s FA Cup fourth-round clash with Leeds at Elland Road.
“But I didn’t play,” he said. “I was in the team all the way to the final, but was injured.
“I went up and received a medal. But it is not the same when you don’t play.
"You ask any player, someone like John Terry who didn’t play in the Champions League final. It just isn’t the same.”
It would be appropriate if Parker realised his dream with Tottenham, the team he supported as a boy.
“I remember the 1987 final against Coventry and then the 1991 final against Nottingham Forest. The nearest I have come as a player was last season when we lost 5-1 to Chelsea in the semi-final. That hurt.
"The result doesn’t reflect it, but we were bang in the game for a long time.”