Another Englishman improves his game in Spain

The Englishman playing abroad, hoping to do enough to catch Capello’s eye in World Cup year, David Beckham right ? Well, not necessarily.

Jermaine Pennant joined La Liga side Real Zaragoza during the summer and believes that his current form could well earn him a place on England’s plane to South Africa in the summer.

It’s a highly ambitious target for the Nottingham-born midfielder but he isn’t giving up hope of gaining his first England cap in the near future.

In the build up to Zaragoza’s game against La Liga champions Barcelona last weekend Pennant said: “I know it’s a long shot, but I don’t see why not.

“The England manager would not rule out a player who is playing in a high-level league against strong opposition if they are doing well.

“There is competition for my position but if I’m performing at my best I don’t see why there’s not a possibility.”

The fight for a starting place on the right side of England’s midfield is intense to say the least. Walcott, Lennon, Beckham and Wright-Phillips would all surely feel aggrevied if Pennant was handed one of those saught after plane ticket ahead of them.

The move to Spain is just the latest chapter in an eventful career to date for Pennant.

After failing to make an impression at Arsenal following a controversial £2million move from Notts County at the age of just 15, a move to Birmingham resurrected his career in 2005 before he added Liverpool to his CV just over a year later when Rafael Benitez paid in excess of £6million for him.

All this before he was 24, and add to the mix that whilst with Birmingham he became the first professional footballer to play wearing an electronic tag and you see that it’s been a rough ride at times for Pennant.

For Capello to select an un-capped player before the World Cup would be a huge surprise, and it’s not unreasonable to say Pennant can probably book his summer holiday for next year without fear of having to change his plans.

Zaragoza’s weekend trip to face the mighty Barcelona at the Nou Camp did not go how Pennant and his team would have liked. Barca, led by the impressive Zlatan Ibrahimovic, were rampant in a 6-1 win that could have easily been much, much more.

Despite the improbability of his ambitions, Pennant’s stock is on the rise. Playing regularly in La Liga will further his footballing education and if he learns how to properly display the talent he has then there is no reason why his international aspirations can’t come true eventually, he still has time on his side.

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