Danny Rose has admitted he did not expect to start for England on Sunday in their friendly fixture against Turkey at the Etihad stadium.
The Tottenham Hotspur defender is competing for a starting spot with Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand, and the two are set to go head-to-head to become Roy Hodgson's first choice left-back ahead of the European Championships.
Rose made 24 league appearances for the North London club this past season, alternating his starting spot at club level with Welsh international Ben Davies.
He has however been excellent for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, and he was rewarded for his fine form last month by being selected in the PFA’s Team of the Season.
But the 25-year-old full-back is still coming to terms with being in the England squad, something he did not think would happen at the start of the campaign, and he expressed his surprise at being given the nod to start on Sunday against Turkey.
Speaking to ITV Sport, Rose said “"I didn't expect to start. We found out the team on Friday and it was a great surprise.
"Me and Ryan are going to go at it toe to toe for the next two weeks and may the best man win.
"Four months ago I wouldn't have thought I would be in this position, it is pretty surreal. I am just trying to enjoy every minute of it and take my club form into international level.
"We are definitely optimistic but there was a message from the manager after the game that we are going to have to defend better if we are going to go anywhere in the European Championship.
"But if we put the mistakes we made right that will give us a good platform to build on in the Euros. We have got two weeks to put everything right."
Rose was caught out of position for Turkey’s equaliser in Manchester by tricky winger Volkan Sen, who then found Leverkusen midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu who duly tucked the ball home on 13 minutes.
But despite that early error, for which he was not the only England player to be found wanting, he was still awarded Vauxhall's Man of the Match for his performance.
England went on to win the game 2-1, with Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy grabbing the winner with seven minutes to play.
And with Rose clearly already making a strong claim for a starting spot in Roy Hodgson’s first-choice XI, Bertrand will know he will have to up the ante if he wants to supplant the Spurs defender.
England play Australia at the Stadium of Light on Friday in the second of three warm-up internationals ahead of this summer’s tournament in France.