Parker content to make dad proud

Parker produced an impressive performance in the holding midfield

role as England triumphed 2-0 through goals from Frank Lampard and

Darren Bent. But Parker’s thoughts were not far from his dad who

died on Friday week after a long illness. He bravely turned out for

West Ham at Tottenham last weekend and went through the same

process to help England return to the top of their qualifying

group. Parker said: “It has been a tough week. My father was ill

for a long while. “I suppose the one disappointing fact was that he

wasn’t at Cardiff to see me play for England but I am sure he would

have been looking down and been very proud. “I have been dealing

with that in my own way and trying to stay strong in my own way. “I

was with him on Friday and then met up with the West Ham team in

the hotel and played. “He would have wanted me to have played on

Saturday. “I suppose it was the one time when I was going out on a

Saturday whether we won, lost or drew, and whether I played bad or

good, it didn’t really matter. “I needed to be out there for him.

It sounds cliched but that’s the reason I played.” Parker had

earned four caps under four different managers before Saturday and

suffered the disappointment of being overlooked for last summer’s

World Cup after being in the provisional squad. But he was aware of

the importance of impressing yesterday if he is to carve out an

elongated international career. He said: “The one thing I have

noticed in my career is that when the opportunity comes, you need

to try and grab it with two hands. “If you go back through my

career, whether it be when I went out on loan at Norwich and I came

back and Alan Curbishley put me in the team at Charlton, that has

happened. “I knew it was my one chance to get in the team and I

took it. That’s the way it is for me. That’s the way it always

seems to be. “I thought about that before kick off in Cardiff. I

knew I had to take my chance in this game. For definite. “I took

massive confidence from the second half against Denmark last month.

I have taken confidence from the way I have played all year. “I

feel like I am probably playing the best football of my career. “I

went into the Wales game confident and in form and hopefully I

showed that out there.” When asked about his lack of England

chances, Parker said: “It probably hasn’t baffled me. In football,

nothing baffles me. “At times, it has been a bit disappointing for

me but, as always, I have just cracked on with and seen what

happens. “It was disappointing not to get picked for the World Cup.

“I did everything I possibly could but it wasn’t meant to be.

That’s life. You need to move on. “I have come back this year and

done well for West Ham and hopefully I can progress. “I would like

to think that I can keep going the way I am going and do what I am

doing. “If I can do that and keep impressing the right people, then

hopefully I can get a few more caps under my belt.”