Arsenal veteran Sol Campbell is refusing to give up hope on a stunning England recall for the World Cup this summer.
The 35-year-old won the last of his 73 caps more than two years ago and has never been selected by Fabio Capello – but he is ready to answer the call of the England boss if there is a shortage of available centre-backs.
After playing in League Two with Notts County at the start of the campaign, Campbell is relishing his return to Arsenal and has played five times since his arrival as the club look to maintain their domestic and European challenge.
Campbell, when asked about a possible England recall, said: “You never know. I might get a sniff here or there if I keep on playing. Why not?”
Campbell started in the 5-0 win over Porto on Tuesday evening to reach the last eight of the Champions League, the first time he has played at the Emirates Stadium as an Arsenal player.
“It was my first game at the Emirates (since returning),” he said. “It was great. It’s a fantastic stadium and it was great to be out there with the lads.
“It’s fantastic for Arsenal to be in the quarter-finals. It was a great performance against Porto after going 2-1 down over there, it was a great response and a great result.
“It’s great to be in the mix of it because that’s what it’s all about, you play football for those moments. The job isn’t done, we have to make sure we keep on going but we’ll enjoy the Porto win.”
Campbell has been given his chance to partner Thomas Vermaelen following injury to William Gallas, who has been the subject of interest from Roma according to reports in Italy.
Campbell admits he will have to step up his fitness if he is needed for an extended run in Arsene Wenger’s defence.
“If required I have to do something about it to keep it going,” he said. “I’m level-headed, I’m not going to get carried away but it’s great to be back and in this kind of environment. I’m going to relish the moments and respect the situation I’m in and give everything I’ve got every time I play for Arsenal.
“The spirit is fantastic here, we missed a couple of players against Porto but whoever comes in, as the boss says, is chipping in and putting a shift in and ploughing ahead.
“Every game between now and the end of the season is like a cup final. The manager wants us to fight for every minute and every second for the rest of the season.”
With Gallas and Cesc Fabregas missing against Porto, right-back Bacary Sagna believes the performance against the Portuguese champions proves Arsenal do not rely on their high-profile players.
“We are a team first,” said Sagna. “It’s not about one player, even though Cesc is very talented. We showed that everyone can play.
“Of course, Cesc is welcome in the team, he’s the captain, which means a lot, and he’s a very good player. But we’re approximately 25 players at Arsenal, so we play as a team.”