By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
Jack Colback has described his maiden England call-up as "the icing on the cake" of a fantastic few weeks.
The Newcastle United midfielder was named in Roy Hodgson's Three Lions squad for the first time on Thursday, as England get set to face Norway in friendly action next week before travelling to Switzerland for a Euro 2016 qualifier.
Colback's selection comes less than two months after arriving at St. James' Park from local rivals Sunderland, with the 24-year-old putting in some impressive early performances in the black and white striped shirt.
And the boyhood United fan told nufc.co.uk in an exclusive interview: "It's another proud moment for me and my family.
"My football is going really well at the moment and this is the icing on the cake after moving here.
"There's been a few retirements since the World Cup, in (Steven) Gerrard and (Frank) Lampard, which has left a hole.
"I'm not saying I'm necessarily their replacement but there are opportunities there for young players to stake a claim.
"The manager took a few young players to the World Cup in the summer and has now named a young squad, so that shows you always have a chance.
"Of course. I've got to go there, express myself in training and hopefully be a part of the games. I want to show people what I am capable of and I know that once I've experienced it once, I will want to do it again.
"I've just got to go there and do what I've been doing at club level, hopefully impress them and stay in the squad."
With just a solitary England Under-20 cap to his name from 2009, Colback admits senior recognition could not have been further from his thoughts, despite his eye-catching displays in United's engine room.
He knew he was being considered for a place in the squad on Thursday morning but finally got the nod just before midday, while in the middle of a gym session at the Club's Benton-based Training Centre.
"I was in the gym when Tony (Toward, team administrator) came in and said he had received the paperwork saying I was involved," explained Colback.
"If it had been anyone else I wouldn't have believed it, but the manager had pulled me this morning to say that England had rang to check if I was fit, so therefore I may have a chance. When Tony confirmed it, I believed it.
"To be honest, before today, when it comes to the time of the squad being announced, I've never really taken much notice or thought about it.
"I've never been involved before, not even much as a young lad, and sometimes it can be difficult to get in there when you haven't been around it before.
"I just always wanted to concentrate on playing well for the team and doing well for the Club - not individual performances.
"That's why it has come as a surprise. It is a massive bonus in my career, a challenge I will relish and it will be a great experience."