Sat, Jun
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I HAVE to admit I'll be a little jealous when I tune into the European Championships.

I'm hoping England will do the country proud but just watching the Championships will take me back 10 years to when I had the honour of representing Trinidad and Tobago at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

The fact I qualified for Trinidad because my mum was born there is well documented, although I still thought it was a wind up when the big Wrexham defender Dennis Lawrence approached me during a game against Port Vale to inquire about my availability.

In no time at all I was off for a training camp in Trinidad before playing in a couple of friendlies against Bermuda and a Peruvian club side before getting my chance in a World Cup qualifier.

I suppose, looking back, people might think I signed up for Trinidad just to have a chance of playing in the World Cup.

In reality, we were bottom of our qualifying group when I played my first match so the World Cup was never in my thoughts, I just saw it as a great adventure and a new experience.

It was certainly different. I got to play in front of 105,000 away to Mexico when the noise was so loud and intimidating that I couldn't hear myself think.

As for the temperature in the North, Central American and Caribbean qualifiers, it's fair to say that was a little different to what I had been used to in League One with the Vale.

Nowhere seemed hotter than Trinidad, where we trained mornings and evenings to avoid the hottest part of the day. But that still meant temperatures of 25 and 30 degrees at 10am.

Our hard work paid off because, under coach Leo Beenhakker, we managed to put a great run together, beating a good Mexico side to make the play-offs before overcoming Bahrain over two legs to make it to the finals.

Excitement had been building in Trinidad, but that had to be quickly forgotten between international matches as I did my best for the Vale.

It wasn't easy juggling international and league football. I would get back from a 10 or 11 hour flight on a Friday morning and report for training to try to get in the Vale team the next day.

I was turning up shattered on some Fridays and I so can understand the manager Martin Foyle not playing me the following day.

The travelling and schedule was difficult to adjust to, and so were the training camps as the World Cup approached.

I hadn't been away from my family before so it took some getting used to being away for five or six weeks when we were told when to train, when to eat and when to go back to our rooms on our own again.

It wasn't easy but we went into the World Cup as a strong team, with the experience of Dwight Yorke, Stern John, Carlos Edwards and Dennis Lawrence along with myself and Kenwyne Jones, who were the two youngest lads.

Stoke City fans might think of Kenwyne as a confident, broad-shouldered striker but in those days he was a quiet, timid lad. I think he probably grew in confidence thanks to the World Cup, as we all did thanks to our games against Sweden, England and Paraguay.

We got a 0-0 draw against the Swedes before losing 2-0 against England and Paraguay but the experience was fantastic.

The England game was played in one of the smaller stadiums, in Nuremberg, but both sets of fans still made the atmosphere brilliant, with the England supporters outnumbering the Trinidad and Tobago fans about five to one.

We played pretty well in that game and were heading for a goalless draw when Peter Crouch headed England in front seven minutes from the end.

Crouch pulled Brett Sancho's hair to beat him to the cross, but to be fair we'd been told to kick lumps out of England so can't really complain!

We knew England's plan would be to hit long balls to Crouch so my job in central midfield was to get close to him and make sure I was first to the knock downs.

I also had to keep an eye on Frank Lampard in midfield. I was just defending really rather than seeing much of the ball until the last 10 minutes.

But we did pretty well for each other and all our fantastic supporters and I certainly look back on that 2006 World Cup with fondness and pride.

I was 22, not worried about anything and just wanted to embrace what was a great adventure.

I hope the England players at the Euros can enjoy themselves as much. I just hope we can start well because otherwise it always seems as though the pressure really builds on the England players.

I think host nation France have the players to win the tournament but I reckon England can make the semi-finals.

I'm just looking forward to watching it all, with a few trips down Memory Lane.

I'VE been playing for and following Port Vale for long enough to know that you should never write them off.

So, I'm not going to get carried away with talk if us being favourites for relegation, no matter what the bookies say.

Players have turned down contracts and look like they are going elsewhere which I think is all because of the budget cuts.

But players do move on in football, not just at Port Vale. Rumours about the new manager coming in are exciting so it will be interesting to see who the chairman and Michael Brown can bring in.

As for my own future, I honestly don't know at the moment. I have had an offer so will think about and take it from there.