If selection for the England team was decided by vote, Gareth Barry would have 100 caps by now instead of approaching this weekend uncertain as to when, or indeed if, he will earn his tenth.
The Aston Villa skipper is a belated part of the national squad that faces Israel tomorrow in England's Euro 2008 qualifier, a match that simply cannot be lost; having been overlooked in Steve McClaren's original selection, Barry knows injuries have offered him another chance to prove his worth at this level.
That value has never been in doubt with his club. Not only has the 26-year-old been Villa's most reliable player for the best part of two seasons, his performances in claret and blue have been rewarded with glowing eulogies from his manager and team mates. Barry's list of referees is as long as his CV.
Martin O'Neill recently went on record commending Barry to his England counterpart, Olof Mellberg seconded his manager's thoughts earlier this week and yesterday Patrik Berger became the latest man to urge McClaren to utilise the midfielder-cum-left back this weekend.
The Czech international lauded his club captain as one of the best players in the Premiership and advised McClaren to play Barry from the start.
"He is a natural left-footed player. I would play him," Berger said. "He should start because he's good enough. Jamie Carragher is a very good player but this is Gareth's position – he's one of only one or two left backs left in the country."
That situation has been brought about by injuries to Ashley Cole and Wayne Bridge and reservations over whether Carragher and Everton's Phil Neville should be deployed as square pegs in a round hole.
Berger not only believes Barry is the ideal candidate to take over from Cole but that he is a man in form and apparently one without weakness. "He's back in the England squad; that says how well he has done for us this season," Berger continued.
"He deserves to be there because he has been fantastic, a really consistent player for us. He's been our best player for the last two or three seasons.
"He is one of the best players in the Premier League. It's rubbish to say he's not got the pace. He has the quality and he proves it, week in week out."
On the domestic front Berger, who steadfastly refuses to comment about his own future, maintains Villa have lots to play for in the next eight games. With the club seven points from the relegation zone and as many from the remotest hope of scraping into European competition for next season, the former Portsmouth midfielder stresses the importance of competing until the very end.
"From the club's point of view, every place in the table is worth a lot of money so we have to get as many points as we can," he said.
"We didn't play badly against Arsenal and probably deserved more then, although the Liverpool game was not our best of the season, we managed to get a clean sheet and that's positive."
While O'Neill and Berger continue to play it cool over the likelihood of the 33-year-old Czech Republic international remaining at Villa Park beyond the end of the current campaign, the manager has revealed he will open contract talks with Mellberg and Gavin McCann early next month.
O’Neill will wait until after the Premiership clash with Everton at Villa Park on April 2 to attempt to tie the two men to the club beyond the terms of their current deals, which expire at the end of next season.
O’Neill said: "I have said to them that I will speak to them shortly after the Everton game. Gavin will be around, but Olof is away on international duty, and we will get the Everton match out of the way and then that clears us up. We have two games in quick succession after that, but we have got an opportunity and the players know we will be discussing their futures."
Sweden international defender Mellberg, aged 29, joined Villa for #5 million from Spanish side Racing Santander in July 2001 while McCann, also 29, headed for the Midlands during the summer of 2003 in a #2.25million switch from Sunderland.