Parker: Prem is key for England

Co-owner David Gold has already stated his belief that Parker will

leave Upton Park this summer, while new boss Sam Allardyce has also

said it was likely he will be sold. The midfielder is refusing to

enter any debate until after England’s Euro 2012 qualifier with

Switzerland at Wembley on Saturday. However, speaking at the

Millbrook testing plant of England sponsors Vauxhall, where he also

took part in a Q&A session with local workers, Parker outlined

an inescapable truth for a player who has only just broken back

onto the Three Lions scene. “Not many players do get picked from

the Championship,” he said. “That is just the way it is. “But it is

too early to say exactly what is going to happen to me on a

personal level. I am sure we will see over the next couple of

months. “There is speculation but it is easy for me to block it

out. “If I was 22 it would probably be a different story and my

mind would be elsewhere. “Now I am quite experienced. I know how

things work.” Parker is expected to start on Saturday, which would

represent the first time he has kept his place for back-to-back

qualifiers in his entire career. Given he feared never playing for

his country again after Fabio Capello axed him from the provisional

World Cup squad without featuring for a single minute in the two

warm-up games, Parker is understandably keen to remain involved.

“My aim is to be there come this time next year,” he said of the

prospect of playing at Euro 2012. “I know there is a long way to go

and things can change but if I can help in any way, that is what I

will try and do. “I never felt like quitting England. My mentality

was always to work hard and force my way in. “It was quite

difficult not to be selected for the World Cup. After that I

thought my chances would have been limited. “But the Wales game was

a massive chance for me. I felt if I didn’t perform in that game I

would not have pulled on an England shirt again. “In football,

especially at international level, when opportunities come along

you have to grab them.”