Stewart Downing’s early-season form saw him earn an England recall in November, with Roy Hodgson drafting him back into the fold following a spell in the international wilderness.
The Hammers midfielder earned his 35th cap in a friendly date with Scotland at Celtic Park, with the 30-year-old offered the opportunity to impress from the start.
That outing was to last just 45 minutes, though, as he was withdrawn at the interval without making a telling contribution.
It has since emerged that the former Aston Villa and Liverpool man required an injection to his knee to make it out onto the field, with Sam Allardyce airing his disappointment at England taking risks with his players.
Downing says he had no complaints about the medical assistance, with there a determination on his part to take his big chance, but concedes that his performance was affected by a niggling ailment.
He told Sky Sports News: “I just had a bit of a sore knee, I think it’s an old injury that has flared up that I have probably played through and not realised.
“I wanted to play in the game, I hadn’t been involved for a long time. It affected my performance a little bit, but I just wanted to get out and play, get a start.
“I came off at half-time, but the pleasing thing was being back in the squad and I’m just looking to keep playing well and get picked in future squads as well.”
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He is starting to look more like his old self, the player who burst onto the scene at Middlesbrough and earned big-money moves to Villa Park and Anfield before the wheels started to fall off.
Working under Allardyce has helped to bring the best out of him and it would be a harsh call by Hodgson were he not to give the experienced playmaker another shot at life in an England jersey – if he can maintain his current form.