Leon Osman never gave up hope of playing for England

International Friendly: Sweden v England

  • Venue: Swedbank Arena, Stockholm
  • Date: Wednesday 14 November
  • Kick-off: 19:30 BST

Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live from 19:00 BST & on BBC Sport website

Leon Osman says he never gave up hope on playing for England as he prepares to win his first cap aged 31.

Everton midfielder Osman is set to feature in Wednesday's friendly against Sweden in Stockholm.

"I hoped my time hadn't passed me by," said Osman. "As an English lad I had a desire to play for my country and I was hopeful it might happen.

"I had stopped looking for my name in the squad every time, but I never gave up hope."

In depth: Leon Osman

"Much of his work goes unnoticed. Sharp in the tackle and swift with the ball, Osman is a vastly under-rated passer, while his goal return overshadows many more celebrated opponents."

Speaking about Thursday's call-up, Osman revealed the moment he was informed he was in the England squad by Everton boss David Moyes.

"We were out on the training pitch and I saw a lot of staff start to filter to the side of the pitch," he said.

"The next thing the manager called us into a circle and announced I was in the squad. I got a big cheer from the side, lots of head ruffles and kidney punches. It was a great moment.

"I seem to have developed late in the game. I didn't make my debut until I was 21. And I wasn't a regular until I was 23. I've done everything late so it doesn't surprise me that I'm here now."

Osman's career

  • Signed his first professional contract with Everton as a 19-year-old in 2000
  • Spent three months on loan at Carlisle in 2002-03, scoring three goals in 15 games
  • Loaned to Derby for the second half of the 2003-04 season. Scored three in 17 games
  • 313 appearances for Everton, 45 goals

Osman has been an influential figure during Everton's impressive start to the season. The Merseyside club have lost just one of their opening 11 games and are fourth in the Premier League.

He has scored three league and cup goals this season and despite Osman's lack of international action, he is one of the most experienced league players in Roy Hodgson's latest squad.

"I am feeling good," he added. "My football seems to be going OK and I am enjoying it. I am pleased the form I have shown for Everton has been recognised."

Wayne Rooney misses out after picking up an ankle injury during Manchester United's comeback win over Aston Villa. Jonjo Shelvey, Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon, meanwhile, are all also injured.

Crystal Palace's 20-year-old Wilfried Zaha was drafted into the squad to replace Theo Walcott who has a muscle injury.