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Sunday, 8 September, 2002, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
Cap ends Bowyer's doubts
Lee Bowyer battles with Portugal's Luis Figo
Bowyer is pleased to be a part of the England team
Lee Bowyer has expressed his relief in making his England debut against Portugal to banish fears he might never have represented his country.

The Leeds midfielder's off-field problems had previously prevented his selection and Bowyer had begun to feel time was running out.

After Saturday's friendly, Bowyer said: "If I hadn't been selected today I never would have been.

""Everybody wants to do the best they can at the highest level. I played against some of the best players in the world in the Champions League a couple of years ago.

"I thought I did all right then, so it would have been a disappointment if I hadn't been given this opportunity."


All I am trying to do is get myself involved
Lee Bowyer

After a hesitant opening, Bowyer settled into the match and was pleased to have a couple of Leeds team-mates around him.

He said: "I felt a bit of pressure because it was my first game but everybody tried their hardest to make me feel welcome and Danny Mills talked me through it.

"The manager just told me to go out and play the way I do for Leeds and I would be judged on that.

The highlight of Bowyer's debut was his pass for his Elland Road colleague Alan Smith to score.

But a modest Bowyer said: "Alan made it a good cross because if he hadn't got in front of the defender it would have been cleared."

Getting involved

It remains to be seen how many more caps Bowyer will win as competition for the right side of midfield slot is intense.

And Bowyer acknowledged: ""Basically David Beckham has got that position if he wants it, so it's not a case of me trying to push myself in front of him.

"David is the England captain, so I have got quite a bit of competition," he smiled.

"All I am trying to do is get myself involved. I am not alone in that, David Dunn, Joe Cole and Danny Murphy are all good players and they came on as substitutes."

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