West Brom midfielder Jake Livermore wants to make proud the people who helped him through difficult times after earning an England recall.
The 27-year-old won his only cap in August 2012 against Italy but has had some dark days since then.
After the death of his newborn son Jake Junior, he tested positive for cocaine in May 2015 but avoided a two-year ban and has gone on to rebuild his career.
“I wouldn’t have thought it would come, it was in my distant dreams,” he said.
“I never thought I’d have the opportunity to represent my country again. The longer it goes, the harder it seems to get.
“To be honest it wasn’t overly in my thoughts, it was more just wanting to get back into club football and put a positive spin on my career, for my friends, for my family and those who stuck by me – the FA among them.
“Hopefully I can do myself, my country and them proud.
“Having this opportunity to repay them in any way, shape or form is like a dream for me.”
Livermore was a surprise inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s squad to face Germany in a friendly on Wednesday and Lithuania in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday.
He said he got his career back on track after his personal tragedy with the support of then Hull City manager Steve Bruce.
He said in an interview with Football Focus last year that his positive test for cocaine was the “get out of jail free card” he needed to start to come to terms with the death of his son.
The Football Association decided not to ban him because of “the unique nature of circumstances” involved.
He helped Hull win promotion to the Premier League last season before earning a £10m January move to West Brom and wants to be there for others in the future.
“Football always helped me very much because it was a platform for me to propel my life, really,” he added. “Everyone has their own story and everyone will be opened up to different opportunities or temptations.
“When people need you, like I needed someone, I want to be a person who can help someone else.
“It’s nice to be able to help someone and give something back because when I really needed it I was fortunate to have that with the FA and my club.”
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