Sunderland's players poked fun at Jermain Defoe for the tiny St George's flag stitched to his boots as England's old timer sets his sights on next year's World Cup.
Defoe revealed on Monday afternoon that he wants to be in Gareth Southgate's plans for Russia in 2018 after a sensational international recall.
The 34-year-old has not played for his country since 2013 but holds no regrets for leaving the Premier League behind for Toronto.
Jermain Defoe spoke of his joy at earning a recall to the England squad at 34-years-old
The Sunderland striker has been in red hot form for his club despite them struggling this term
'I was getting a lot of stick from the lads at the training ground because I've still got the England flag on my boots,' Defoe said. 'I was just hoping. It's come and I'm delighted.
'I hoped [it wasn't the end] but obviously there were times where you did think 'maybe I'm not going to get in'. But it didn't stop me working hard and just hoping that one day I'd get that opportunity.
'Everyone knows how much I love playing football, love scoring goals. I've always known how important it is to play for England from day one. I've been blessed to have gone to two major tournaments. It's something you crave. I'm back here and delighted.'
Defoe always harboured hopes of playing for England again and has been recalled
Defoe is back in the England fold after injuries to others but he stands a good chance of forcing a way into the 23-man squad if the next 12 months yield more goals.
JERMAIN DEFOE'S 2016-17 PREMIER LEAGUE STATS
Appearances - 27
Goals - 14
Assists - 2
Shot accuracy - 58 per cent
Chances created - 13
Pass accuracy - 79 per cent
The ex-Tottenham striker does, however, admit he needs to play in the top flight, with Sunderland facing an uphill task to stave off relegation down to the Championship.
'Obviously you have to be realistic. To get into any squad you have to be there on merit, it's as simple as that.
'When I was at Toronto I missed out on the 2014 World Cup. That was hard news to accept at the time but you have to be realistic and think the boys I'm competing against are playing in the Premier League and Europe. That's probably why I missed out.
'I don't really regret anything. I took my time taking the Toronto decision and at the time I felt it was the right deal for Tottenham. I made a lot of friends there, it was a good experience.
'I'd say I probably need to be in the Premier League but we'll see what happens.'
Defoe is hoping to feature for England in their upcoming game against Germany