Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain watched England's last tournament appearance with his friends in a Southsea pub - but is now relishing being part of the Euro 2012 squad.
The Arsenal winger's meteoric rise up the footballing ladder continued when he made his full debut in Saturday's 1-0 success over Belgium at Wembley. It is only just over 12 months ago that Oxlade-Chamberlain was playing for Southampton in League One.
He said: "In a year everything has changed around. It has changed around very quickly. I've enjoyed every minute of it and I hope I continue in the same way. It was not long ago I was watching the 2010 World Cup with some friends in Southsea."
He continued: "I went home to see my friends the other day in Southsea and we drove past the pub where we watched the England-Germany game and Frank Lampard scored the goal that got disallowed.
"I was sat with my best friend and he said it was unbelievable that a couple of years ago we were in there watching it and in the next major tournament I'm out there with all the boys.
"It sort of puts things into perspective for you and it has been an amazing journey. But it is the start. It is just the start for me and I can't get carried away. I've got a long, long way to go and I've got to keep working hard and try and make my future bright."
Oxlade-Chamberlain had to cancel his planned holiday after receiving the call-up from England head coach Roy Hodgson. He added: "I'd even booked a holiday to Marbella which was due to start on Saturday.
"All my friends have gone out there and I cancelled that one - and was happy to do so! To be involved with your country means so much. It was nice to get the first one (start) out of the way. It's a start in my England career I guess, the first of many I hope.
"It's always nice to win as well. I thought we played some good stuff at times and it was against a good Belgium team. It was a really good experience for myself and I enjoyed every minute of it and hopefully it is the first of many.
"A few of the lads had a word with me, Stevie Gerrard, Scott Parker, the experienced boys. They just said go out and enjoy it and, when someone says that to you, you do realise it is a game of football. I've been playing since I was seven at a professional club and you are tuned to perform in moments like that. If you go out and relax, it just comes to you."