Ashton thought it was a prank call

Former Norwich City striker Dean Ashton thought it was a wind-up when he first heard of his England call-up.

Former Norwich City striker Dean Ashton thought it was a wind-up when he first heard of his England call-up.

Ashton - sold by the Canaries to West Ham for £7.25m - was yesterday included in Steve McClaren's first squad for the friendly against Greece on Wednesday.

And the hitman revealed: “I received a text message from a lady at the FA saying I had been included in the squad but to be honest I didn't believe it at first and thought it might be someone joking around so I rang the number back and she confirmed the news and explained everything to me.

”When I put the phone down I just felt over the moon really. Since I was a young boy I have dreamed about representing my country so it is a privilege and an honour to be picked and it still hasn't sunk in to be honest.

”I rang my girlfriend first and then my parents and they were obviously all chuffed for me as they know how much I wanted this and how much it means to me.”

Only four strikers have been selected by McClaren, Ashton joining another former Canary Peter Crouch, Darren Bent and Jermaine Defoe so he knows he is in with a shout of playing in the game.

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“It is obviously up to Steve McClaren who plays but with only four strikers being picked there is a good chance we will all get a go. To play any part will be fantastic but just to be in the squad is the main thing.

“I can't wait to join up with the other lads, there are some huge names in that squad and to be able to train and possibly play with some of them is going to such a huge learning experience for me.

“However, I am not going to let myself be overawed by anything. I don't want this to be a one off, I want to prove myself and show I can play at the highest level and be picked again for future squads.”

Ashton added: “There is no doubt my time at West Ham and with Norwich in the Premiership would have helped me get selected because you play in such high profile games that are watched by very senior figures in the game.

“The end of last season especially when West Ham were on TV quite a lot and obviously doing so well in the FA Cup put me out there and enabled people to see what I could do.

“There are a lot of players in this West Ham team who are capable of joining me in the senior squad for England and I believe if we have as good a season as we did last year we will see a few more of the boys.”