Nathaniel Clyne would rather be at St George’s Park than the beaches of St Barths such is desire to play for England.
The 24-year-old is coming off the back of a memorable season in which he helped Southampton achieve their best-ever Premier League finish.
It also saw Clyne make his breakthrough at international level, with the right-back having racked up four caps since making his England debut against Slovenia in November.
The full-back will no doubt add to that tally in the upcoming trips to Ireland and Slovenia – matches he is relishing, even if it does mean less down-time this summer.
“The beach can wait for now,” Clyne said.
“This is a good opportunity for me to go away and get more international experience.
“It’s always an honour to be called up to play for your country so I am happy and looking forward to the two games coming up.
“I relish the opportunity of these games and look forward to it.
“With the whole nation on your side willing you and wanting you to do well it is extra pressure. I know I can deal with it as well.”
Clyne is looking forward to Sunday’s mouth-watering friendly in Dublin.
He said: “It really gets you going when the crowds are really up for it.”
They also have a Group E clash with Slovenia a week later. Victory in Ljubljana will edge the Three Lions closer to almost certain qualification for the finals in France, edging the right-back closer to fulfilling a dream.
“The Slovenia game is an important one to look forward to and we need the win to edge us closer to the Euros next summer,” Clyne said.
“In the past tournaments I have always been a fan myself, watching the games on TV and rooting for England.
“I had dreams of trying to make it onto the pitch myself and trying to help the team do well in a big major tournament.
“The fans are desperate for that and the players are too,” he added. “I think we have a solid team of experience and youth.
“There’s hungry young players like me and I’ll keep fighting so we can hopefully qualify and have a good tournament next summer.”
Meanwhile, Fabian Delph and Adam Lallana missed England training at St George’s Park on Thursday.
The England squad continued their preparations for the upcoming double-header against the Republic of Ireland and Slovenia at the national football centre in Burton-upon-Trent, but neither Delph nor Lallana featured.