Form key for England's Parker

BY foxsports • November 14, 2011

The Tottenham midfielder received the official man-of-the-match award for his performance in England's 1-0 win over World Cup holders Spain at Wembley on Saturday. But Parker's caution is understandable given it is only in the last few months that he has been at the forefront of England's plans. The stop-start nature of his international career is highlighted by the fact he won his first four caps under four different managers. But he has started five of the last seven matches since impressing as a second half substitute against Denmark in Copenhagen in February. When asked if he thought he was guaranteed to go to Poland and the Ukraine next summer, Parker said: "Not really. Football has chucked up a lot of surprises in my career. "There is no complacency. I realise how tough it is going to be. I need to retain my form. "There are a lot of players who will come back into the squad (Jack Wilshere and Steven Gerrard included). "But I've come a long way in six months. Six months ago I wasn't even really involved." Parker left the pitch to a standing ovation when substituted and admitted: "Eighteen months ago, I wouldn't have really believed I would get the ovation I have got now against Spain. "It was a massively proud moment for me. In one way I have to pinch myself that I am going out representing my country. "It was a moment I will always treasure, playing against the World Cup holders, and to get the result is even more pleasing." Parker, who moved to White Hart Lane from West Ham during the summer, admits the earlier uncertainty over his future is a factor in his current fitness levels. He said: "I've been struggling with cramp recently to be fair. I didn't have a good pre-season. It was all up in the air where I was going to be. "I just think maybe not having the pre-season behind me means I will struggle during the late part of games." Parker believes England can take confidence from stifling the threat of Spain but also sounded a note of caution ahead of the Euro 2012 finals. He said: "We went in as underdogs and at times it was difficult. They played some quick stuff and you are up against arguably the best midfielders in the world. "The ball moves so quickly in midfield areas, and they are so comfortable on the ball which makes it all the harder. "But you learn from those games massively. The games you win 5-0, you are not learning from. "We learnt a lot about ourselves and as a team. We limited them to very few chances and we took the result. Ultimately we stuck together out there as a team and got the result. "But ultimately we need to put the win in perspective, we need to be realistic, and it's a building process for us. "We will always be confident going into a tournament but at the same time we need to be realistic."

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