Clarets striker Danny Ings feels his hard work is paying off after making his England Under 21 debut on Thursday.
The 21-year-old was rewarded for an 11-goal start to the season with a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s squad for the UEFA European Championship qualifiers with San Marino and Lithuania.
And he earned his first cap on Thursday night, coming on for Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling on 65 minutes in a 4-0 victory in the Stadio Olimpico in Serravalle.
Ings joins Richard Chaplow and Jay Rodriguez as Burnley’s only England Under 21 caps - with one each - and he is set to forge ahead of the pair tonight when the Three Lions take on Lithuania at Ipswich Town’s Portman Road - ironically where Burnley travel on Saturday.
Ings has started the season with a bang, after injury troubles set him back in his first two seasons at the club.
But he feels stronger than ever after a pre-season that has reaped rich dividends so far for Sean Dyche’s squad, and he said: “To be honest I was looking forward to the international break, but even better I got the call, and I was excited to come.
“It’s a dream come true. When I was little, I’d work hard every day with my dad on the field and I never thought that I’d end up here.
“Any chance we got to play football, we’d head out, get our boots on and play football and he used to teach me everything and was a great mentor.
“I’ve had a couple of years struck with injuries, but now I’ve worked hard, turned that around and I’m feeling the benefit for it. So it shows that hard work does pay off.”
A player who was on loan at Dorchester Town three years ago, Ings has enjoyed linking up with some of the Premier League’s top young talent, and he added: “It’s been brilliant and exciting.
“It’s a new experience for me and one that hit me in the face. I didn’t expect it but it’s been really good.
“The lads have been brilliant on and off the pitch. I know it was an easy game on Thursday, but I thought the game went how we would want it and I’m just pleased to have made my debut.”
And he hopes his selection shows that Championship players will get the opportunity at international level if they are good enough: “Obviously, you’re always going to look in the Premier League at first because it’s the top, top league of players and the elite league.
“But it’s always a positive for players in the Championship like me, that the gaffer is coming to watch.”