Matt Jarvis's has said his failure to secure professional terms as a teenager with Millwall was a source of motivation and admitted the rejection served as an "incentive" which has helped him win a place in the England squad for Saturday's Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales.
The winger, who had graduated through Millwall's ranks alongside his brother, Ben, was released as a 16-year-old eight years ago only to be snapped up later the same day by Gillingham. His career has been progressing ever since and having impressed in his second Premier League season with Wolverhampton Wanderers, Jarvis trained for the first time with Fabio Capello in the hope of gaining a first cap either against the Welsh, or Ghana at Wembley on Tuesday.
"Not to have made the grade back then was gutting and there was a point where I thought: 'Should I carry on with this?'" Jarvis said. "It's hard to hear when you're 16, that you're going to be released, but you've got to be mentally strong. So, once I'd got my head around it, I used it as an incentive. It spurred me on. I went to Gillingham for a trial and managed to get a contract there, and everything has gone amazingly well from then on in. I'm delighted with the way I've got here, even if I missed out on the under-17s, 19s and 21s. It's given me a grounding and the determination to improve."
The last representative team for whom Jarvis played was Surrey's Under-15 side, though his form at Wolves over the past 18 months has merited his inclusion. Capello had selected him in provisional squads last autumn, only for the 24-year-old not to make the cut. Jarvis admitted he "hardly knew anyone" upon his arrival at England's Hertfordshire hotel on Monday evening, though he was personally welcomed by the captain, John Terry, and Capello.
He has since eased into life with the squad by beating Joe Hart and Michael Dawson at table tennis despite being "a bit rusty", though his new team-mates should have anticipated his natural talent. Jarvis's parents, Linda and Nick, have both been No1s in the English table tennis rankings. "I was a bit nervous coming down in the car because I didn't know the other lads personally, but now I feel a bit more comfortable," he added. "It's a dream for anyone to play for their country, and I was speechless when the call came."
All but Glen Johnson and Scott Parker of the England squad trained fully, with the Liverpool full-back undertaking gym work – he will be available for the game at the Millennium Stadium – while the West Ham midfielder was granted permission not to take part following the death of his father last Friday. Parker is in contention to play alongside Jack Wilshere in Cardiff, where England are anticipating a Premier League-style contest against the Welsh.
Capello and his staff scrutinised the fitness of their squad and have been encouraged by Andy Carroll's condition, despite the Liverpool striker having only made two starts since the end of December after thigh problems. They are inclined to hand the £35m forward his first competitive start alongside Wayne Rooney, and may recall Phil Jagielka to play alongside Terry at the heart of their defence.
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