Bullard high spirits such a tonic for England

Judging by yesterday's training session at London Colney, England could use more players like Jimmy Bullard.

Rarely has the atmosphere appeared so flat. Rarely have England's players looked less comfortable in their surroundings. The first 20 minutes of training took place in a silence that was broken only by the sound of the ball being struck.

A training session, worryingly for England, that did not include the injured quartet of Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, John Terry and Wes Brown.

Scroll down for more

Jimmy Bullard

Fresh face: Bullard is delighted by his England call up

If Fabio Capello wants to lift the spirits of his stuttering England team, and he can at least be thankful that the spotlight is not on him but on Manchester City and Newcastle, he needs people like Bullard around. Not necessarily to improve the team but to lighten the mood.

Fulham's Bullard certainly lightened the mood at the team hotel in Hertfordshire yesterday, telling stories, cracking jokes and charming his audience with his enthusiasm. He said he had been to the hotel before, but only to use the golf course.

He never imagined a call from England would ever come.

'I didn't really expect it,' he said. 'The letter came through from the FA on Wednesday saying I was in contention. To finally get the nod on Sunday was a dream come true really, brilliant. It was a long three days waiting for the final call-up, but that letter will be framed and put on the wall somewhere.'

If only all England's players represented their country with such relish.

'It's a great honour to be called up for your country, putting the tracksuit on for the first time,' he said.

'I've looked at it a couple of times and couldn't quite believe it. I'm wearing it now and it's a great feeling.'

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now