Harry Maguire takes great confidence from his England selection ahead of the likes of Gary Cahill, but there is no chance of the defender resting on his laurels ahead of the World Cup.
Just three months before the finals get under way in Russia, the Three Lions continue their preparations with warm-up friendlies against Holland and Italy.
Leicester’s Maguire looks well placed to add to those three caps in the coming days and, remarkably, is the second most experienced out-and-out centre-back option selected in this 27-man squad
Chelsea skipper Cahill has been overlooked for these friendlies a year on from wearing the England captain’s armband, while the likes of Chris Smalling and Michael Keane are among the others omitted.
Asked if it was an extra compliment to be selected given who has been left out, Maguire said: “Yeah, definitely.
“They are good players, they have played a lot of games for England, there’s a reason why they’ve done that.
“They’ve had good experience so, like you say, it gives me great confidence that Gareth wants me, trusts me and wants me to be playing with the other players he’s selected as well. Fingers crossed that it carries on.”
Maguire feels in the best form of his career and is thankful for the staff at Leicester for helping him step up another level.
The 25-year-old enjoys the pressure that comes with trying to impress Southgate and earning a place on the plane to Russia, but the defender still pinches himself.
“Every time I get the call it’s a special moment – a moment I’m really proud of,” Maguire said.
“That Thursday when the squad gets announced, I’m sat by my phone waiting for the text and it’s a special moment when it comes through.
“I’ve been here for the past few camps, I’m getting used to the surroundings, the staff, the players and it’s a special moment every time I get the call.”
Maguire looks likely to earn a place at the World Cup given Southgate’s desire to play a back three to bring the best out of his squad.
But in terms of certainties there are few aside from Harry Kane, who is missing from a second international break in a row through injury.
“It’s massive loss, the form that he’s been in,” Maguire said.
“He’s been terrific in the past couple of seasons and every time he plays for England he seems to score, so he’s a big player for us, no doubt.
“But we’ve got some good players coming in and replacing him, so we’ve got some strength in depth in that forward area, hopefully score some goals over the next couple of games and Harry can get a good quick recovery and we can look forward to having him at the World Cup.”
All players would love to go to a World Cup and Maguire is no different, with the defender not overly concerned by the diplomatic situation in Russia right now.
“No, I wouldn’t have any concerns (about my family going) at all,” he added.
“It’s out of our control, our main objective is safety and security and it’s up to those to decide what’s happening to ensure that if we do go to the World Cup, which I’m sure we will do, that we will be safe and secure, and everyone will be raring to go.”