Kieran Richardson's inspirational end to the season hit new heights last night when he was handed a surprise call-up to the England squad to tour the United States next week.
The midfield player, who had a big hand in helping West Bromwich Albion to avoid relegation from the Premiership, was drafted in after Shaun Wright-Phillips of Manchester City pulled out because of injury.
Matthew Upson, the Birmingham City defender, has also pulled out because of injury. He has been replaced by Zat Knight, the Fulham defender, who was born in Solihull.
It is a first squad call-up for Richardson, aged 20, who has revitalised his career since moving from Manchester United last January to join Albion on loan.
Albion are still hoping to secure his services for another season, although auguries are not good. Richardson wants to remain at Old Trafford.
Sven-Goran Eriksson, the England head coach, said: "I have seen Kieran play on a number of occasions this season and there is no doubt he is a tremendous young talent.
"He has impressed me and I hope he can make the most of this opportunity with England just as he has done with West Brom."
Richardson played three times for England Under-21s last season. Richardson and Knight will join up with the squad in Manchester next Tuesday before flying to Chicago later that day. England play the USA in Chicago on May 28 and Colombia in New Jersey on May 31.
Richardson is desperate to make the grade at United but, for now, has no guarantees that he will play regular first-team football. A return to Albion might be the best option.
* Jason Koumas, who is on the transfer list with West Bromwich Albion, has pulled out of the Wales squad that was due to travel to San Sebastian, Spain, for a training camp this week. Koumas's reasons are unknown.