Pools star Luke James has revealed his pride after winning his first England C cap in their game against Wales at Salford City on Tuesday evening.
The front man played 70 minutes for Paul Fairclough’s side as they drew 2-2 with their Welsh counterparts in front of a good crowd at The Peninsula Stadium.
After the final whistle the players were formally presented with their caps and James admitted that it was a special moment, especially after fearing the opportunity might have passed him by.
“It was a brilliant experience for me,” he told us.
“I didn’t know if I was going to get the chance to be part of the England C squad after an injury forced me to pull-out when I was called-up in November – I thought I might be too old by the time of the next game!
“I was really happy when I got the email through to say I was involved again this time and it was brilliant to go down there and be part of it.”
James linked-up with the squad on Sunday evening at their Hotel Football base in Manchester – though he had a wry smile when he saw the rooming list upon his arrival.
“They only put me in a room with a player from Darlo didn’t they?” he laughed.
“I was in with Luke Trotman from Darlington but he was a great lad and it was good to get know him despite the team he plays for!
“It was like walking in to a new team again because I only really knew Dan Jones and a few of the Gateshead lads from playing against them in the past couple of seasons.
“It was funny because while we were in the hotel me and a few of the lads were in the lift and as I pressed the button for our floor I looked up and noticed that standing next to us was Gareth Bale and Wayne Hennessey!
“The Wales squad were staying in the same place as us because they are playing a game at Wrexham this week – but none of us dared say a word to them in the lift, we absolutely bottled it!”
James’ roommate Trotman had a hand in England’s first goal, while FC United of Manchester’s Kurt Willoughby scored the second, only for the Three Lions to be pegged back twice and held by their visitors.
“We probably should have won the game on the balance of play,” insisted James.
“The Manager's philosophy was for us to go out there and play total football, he didn’t want to see any long balls or anything so it was enjoyable to play in.
“I didn’t have any clear cut chances but I did have a couple of shots blocked. It wasn’t the win that we were looking for but it was a decent result I would say.
“It was a proud moment to pick up the cap at the end, particularly with some family and friends in the stands watching too.
“I managed to keep hold of my shirt too so I am hoping to get that and the cap framed together and that will be given pride of place somewhere in the house.”