Villa's Barry won't take England place for granted

Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry is determined to make the most of his return to the England team.

Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry is determined to make the most of his return to the England team.

Barry has featured in every game since Fabio Capello became Steve McClaren's successor as head coach nearly 12 months ago and made the holding midfield role his own.

It represents a massive change in fortunes from the Sven Goran Eriksson years, when the Aston Villa player, who was part of the England squad for Euro 2000 in Holland and Belgium, was frozen out despite his consistent club form.

Now Barry is an automatic choice with Capello despite competition from the likes of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard in the centre of the pitch.

The 27-year-old said: "You never take anything for granted in football but I've featured in every game since the new manager took over and it's nice to be involved like that.

"Going four years without a cap, you realise you have to take your chances when they come along.

"I was still reasonably young (when not being selected) and realised I still had quite a few years ahead of me but, when you don't get called up, you start thinking negatively.

"I must admit that was sometimes the case. When you burst onto the scene at such a young age (19) a lot is expected of you. Then there was a massive gap really."

Barry added: "I had a couple of caps here and there without really forcing myself in. The four years without an appearance for England was a big setback for myself.

"I am just glad my international career is up and running again. Steve McClaren first gave me the chance and I've been happy to feature under Mr Capello as well. It's been stop-start over the years but I've relished the opportunities I've been given this last 15 months."

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