Lescott ready to capitalise on England centre-back absentees

The defender is out of favour at Manchester City, but is primed to build on his appearance against San Marino as he attempts to cash in on Rio Ferdinand's absence
England centre-back Joleon Lescott is adamant that he is ready to star for England after he started in the 8-0 win over San Marino despite not being in the original squad and failing to feature regularly for Manchester City.

The 30-year-old has fallen down the pecking order at his club as he has failed to start a Premier League game since their 3-1 defeat against Southampton in early February - a lack of appearances that meant he had to rely on Rio Ferdinand's withdrawal from the squad for his call-up.

Lescott started for England against San Marino on Friday, though, and the former Everton man is looking to build on his recall as he emphasised the need to remain fit and prepared, despite not featuring in the original squad.

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"You've got to keep yourself prepared physically, and I've been doing that. Any time I am called upon, I have to make sure I'm ready," he told reporters.

"I wasn't in the squad originally but Roy [Hodgson] said he wouldn't have any qualms if he needed to call me in. Playing for England is the ultimate achievement of your career. That's 25 caps now, which is great."

The centre-back also spoke of the honour that was bestowed upon him in the second half as, after Frank Lampard's substitution, he was given the captain's armband - which he says was an added perk.

"I think I was the oldest player on the pitch towards the end and the manager deemed it fit to give me the armband, which is a bonus," he continued.

"I've had the armband before - the first time was against Norway."