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Southampton (A) Sat 20 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Osman Retains England Hope

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Leon Osman insists his dream of playing for England lives on.

Despite being one of the Premier League's most consistent midfielders over the last few years Osman is yet to gain senior international recognition.

And even though the Blues academy graduate is now in his thirties, he has refused to close the door on the possibility of pulling on an England jersey.

Osman, 31, said: "I wouldn't say I have accepted getting called up for England is going to elude me.

"As you start to get 30-plus, the chances start to diminish, but, as an English lad, you still keep going for your club and if it ever happens that would be great."

More immediately, Osman is focussed on attempting to secure three points for Everton against Newcastle on Monday night.

He has identified Magpies playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa as their most likely tormentor.

"They've got real fire power," noted Osman. "Last season their strikers were winning them games, along with Ben Arfa, and when you've got players like that it can turn a drab 0-0 into a 2-0 or 3-0 comfortable win by adding that spark.

"It's important we try and cut their service and stop them doing what they do best. That result last season gives us confidence. We came out of the traps well and were right at them. I suppose in football you need a bit of luck and things seemed to go for us that day.

"We won but it'll be forgotten about come Monday. It's important for both sides and we'll both want to win immensely."

Tickets are still available for the game against Newcastle, click here to buy online, call 0871 663 1878* or visit the box office. Please allow plenty of time before the game.

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