Cape Town - Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere says he never gave up hope of returning to the England national team after he was named in the 27-man squad announced by Gareth Southgate on Thursday.
Wilshere, 26, returns to the side, having last played for England in the 2-1 defeat by Iceland at Euro 2016.
The midfielder has enjoyed an extended run of games in the Gunners’ side in recent months and was also outstanding in the win over AC Milan in the Europa League.
Talking to the media on Thursday after beating the Italian side 3-1 (5-1 on aggregate), Wilshere said he never gave up hope of earning a recall for the Three Lions despite last featuring for the team in 2016.
"It is an honour to play for my country” the Arsenal midfielder said in the post-match interview.
"I never gave up hope of getting back in there. I am happy to be back in the team."
The Arsenal midfielder also spoke about the win over Milan on Thursday which has taken Arsenal to the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
Winning in Europe this season is the Gunners'’ best hope of returning to Champions league action for next season, with a top-four Premier League finish seemingly out of reach for Arsene Wenger’s team.
"We needed it. We set the level last week in Milan. It was about getting the job done tonight and being professional. We didn't start well but it woke us up," Wilshere added.
"They got a good goal early on and made us work for it. We are happy to be through to the next round and we will see who we get.
"I hope so. When we looked at the draw before, AC Milan was probably not one of the teams we fancied but we showed we can play against the top teams in Europe."