Jake Livermore is determined to “take every opportunity and grasp it” as he aims to ensure his remarkable re-emergence as an England player extends to next summer’s World Cup.
Livermore made his England debut in 2012 but it was not until March this year that he added to that cap.
That was around two years on from the midfielder testing positive for cocaine as he struggled to cope with the death of his newborn son.
Livermore escaped a ban, with his particular circumstances taken as mitigation by the Football Association, and he went on to help Hull win promotion to the Premier League, then joined West Brom midway through last season.
An international recall followed, and the 27-year-old has played in four of England’s last six games.
Gareth Southgate’s men are on the brink of qualifying for the World Cup in Russia, and when asked ahead of Thursday’s home clash with Slovenia about the prospect of being at the tournament, Livermore said: “Of course, it is every young kid’s dream.
“In the last few years I have had a new lease of life in my career and I just want to take every opportunity and grasp it.”
He added: “There are many others who hopefully can take comfort from my story and move on with their lives as much and as best as is possible.”
Livermore recently missed West Brom’s 0-0 league draw with West Ham and 2-1 Carabao Cup loss to Manchester City, with Albion boss Tony Pulis saying the player was taking some time off as he was “a little bit jaded, mentally more than anything else”.
Livermore subsequently stressed on Twitter the break was to “rest my body”.
Speaking about that this week, he said: “I think it was all blown out of proportion.
“The club and the England staff and myself are all on the same page. It was just an opportunity that we haven’t had previously to rest for a few days, no more than that. It was good management by Tony Pulis from my point of view.
“We had a conversation and looked over stats, and perhaps that little bit of spark had gone from performances.
“I had a few days’ break, which I didn’t get in the summer (he was with England in June), and I feel great now.”
Last week Southgate raised eyebrows with his remark, about the group selected for the matches against Slovenia and Lithuania, that “you could well argue there are one or two in the squad who haven’t necessarily warranted it on their performances”.
Asked about that comment, Livermore said: “There is a bigger picture. We are all here as one big squad.
“International careers won’t be determined on these particular games, I wouldn’t have thought. We’re looking at a bigger picture and he and the staff have made that clear.
“We’re very much in it together, and there will be lads here he’ll want to keep involved whether he sees them as playing or not.”
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