Ryan Bertrand has gone from outsider to England regular in a matter of months, but the Southampton left-back is not taking his place at Euro 2016 for granted.
The 26-year-old made a permanent move to St Mary’s earlier in the year after impressing on loan from Chelsea, earning plaudits aplenty but not at first international recognition.
Leighton Baines, Kieran Gibbs, Luke Shaw and Danny Rose were all ahead of Bertrand in the pecking order, only for injuries to see him make a long-awaited international return off the bench in the 1-1 draw in Italy in March.
It was the Saints full-back’s first cap for nearly three years and has since been followed up by starts against the Republic of Ireland, Estonia and Spain, with injuries to Shaw and Baines allowing him to nail down his spot in the squad.
Put to him that this looks a good opportunity to secure a place in the Euro 2016 squad, Bertrand said: “Possibly. I just want to continue and concentrate on each game, each friendly game.
“We’ve got big tests coming again on Tuesday (against France) and again with the following friendlies coming up.
“It is important that we keep consistent as a team, in my performances too.
“Obviously certain things have happened and you can’t take anything for granted, really. You need to still work, nothing is a given.”
Bertrand is thankful to Southampton for giving him the chance to shine – “I just needed a foundation of consistent football” – and now hopes to win his seventh cap on Tuesday.
France arrive at Wembley for what is sure to be a poignant occasion following Friday’s terror attacks in Paris and it will be another important test for England, having fallen to a 2-0 defeat to reigning European champions Spain that same night.
“It was a good learning experience,” Bertrand said of the trip to Alicante.
“It was always going to be tough in their backyard, but I think the majority of the game we were in it.
“Everything we do is with half an eye on the summer (the Euro 2016 finals). It’s still a long way away, we’ve got a good few games coming up and perhaps (it is a chance to) put our stamp on things and practise things.
“We won’t always get it right, but we’re kind of in an experimental stage.
“In terms of the way we play, coming up against different sides, that’s why we’ve got the friendlies we have.
“We have played a different demographic of teams of late and we’re coming up against some real good opposition now.”