Audio: Grant Holt - England snub coud be a Norwich City thing

PUBLISHED: 09:53 28 February 2012 | UPDATED: 10:34 28 February 2012

Grant Holt celebrates his 10th Premier League goal of the season in Sunday's clash against Manchester Utd. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images

Grant Holt celebrates his 10th Premier League goal of the season in Sunday's clash against Manchester Utd. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images

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The dream of playing for England remains out of sight for Grant Holt, but Norwich City's talisman won't be getting down about it.

England are currently preparing for tomorrow’s friendly with the Netherlands at Wembley under caretaker manager Stuart Pearce with something of a striker crisis.

It was revealed last night that Aston Villa striker Darren Bent will be out for three months with an ankle ligament injury suffered at Wigan, a blow that effectively rules him out of Euro 2012.

Meanwhile, the throat infection that saw Wayne Rooney miss Manchester United’s win at Carrow Road on Sunday also rules him out of England action. The double blow leaves Pearce with only Rooney’s team-mate Danny Welbeck, Sunderland’s England debutant Fraizer Campbell and Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge at his disposal, after the temporary England boss decided against drafting in replacements.

Norwich fans will see that as tough on Holt, who notched his 10th Premier League goal of the season at the weekend against United. Rooney is the only Englishman to have scored more top-flight goals than Holt this season, with Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard and Swansea front man Danny Graham also reaching double figures.

But while the City skipper admitted pulling on an England shirt would top all before it, he is not expecting the call any time soon.

“I don’t think it’s round the corner,” Holt smiled at the suggestion. “I’m not holding my phone tightly in my pocket and waiting.

“It’s the pinnacle – as with any young boy, your dream is to play for your country. Everyone has that dream; some fulfil it and some don’t.

“Me and Danny got overlooked in this particular squad and we have just got to keep doing what we are doing. I know Danny well, he’s a good lad and he will be disappointed he is not getting a call-up.

“So we have just got to keep scoring goals, churning out the performances and let people write what they want to write. It’s up to the people at the top to pick the teams. If they decide I’m not good enough, then that’s fine.”

In fact, City fans’ raised eyebrows at international selections have stretched beyond their number nine over recent season – and Holt admitted the Canaries’ status outside English football’s big hitters may be the reason.

“It’s everyone across the board – you look at Wes Hoolahan; he hasn’t had an Irish cap in the last two years and by far has been the best Irish play for a long time,” said Holt.

“Pilks (Anthony Pilkington) as well has been overlooked, John Ruddy has been overlooked. People might say it’s the Norwich thing, that we’re not a big club, so that’s maybe what it is. But the lads will keep doing it for Norwich City and see where it takes them. This is where you’ve got to do it and if you keep doing it you will get noticed.”

However, Holt’s City team-mate Adam Drury was making sure his captain kept his phone by his side. Just in case.

“I was surprised they missed out – I thought Ruddy might definitely have got a shot and as Darren Bent might pull out, I told Holty to keep his phone on because the way he has been performing and the goals he has scored, I think he deserves a call-up,” said Drury.

“People will sit up and take notice of things like that, and hopefully for the lads it will be great if they do.”

With no midweek England involvement, Holt and his City colleagues are free to prepare for Saturday’s trip to Stoke – not the easiest place to go and banish the painful disappointment of a last-minute defeat to Manchester United.

Holt believes it is tough to call whether United or leaders Manchester City will win the race for the Premier League title, having suffered at the hands of a now traditional Red Devils late show.

But he found it easier to consign Norwich’s Sunday defeat to the record books, with the Britannia coming into view – a stadium where the Canaries have picked up just two points from their six visits.

“Stoke is a completely different animal to Manchester United,” said Holt. “It’s a different team, a different style and to go up there and get something, it’s a tough place to go. We will get the game against United out of our head. We played well, we didn’t get anything from it and we will go again on Saturday.

“That’s what we do. Once the game has gone, you can talk about it for as long as you want – it won’t change the result. All you can do is go again.”

n City are in action at reserve team level this afternoon, with Wolverhampton Wanderers visiting Colney Training Ground (2pm). The Canaries have tended to field teams of young professionals and Academy players in the Barclays Reserve League in recent months, although there is always a chance that one or two senior players will be involved.

Grant Holt

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