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England call-up better than a holiday for Konsa

Aston Villa defender Enzi Konsa was about to book a holiday prior to receiving his first England call-up, but said on Tuesday he knew his chance to shine on the international stage would come.

Konsa has been a key part of Villa’s rise under Unai Emery over the past year.

However, he had initially been overlooked again by England boss Gareth Southgate for Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia.

Konsa was a late call-up alongside Cole Palmer and Rico Lewis on Sunday, after James Maddison, Lewis Dunk and Callum Wilson withdrew due to injury.

“I was driving home from the match on Sunday (Villa’s 3-1 win against Fulham) and me and the missus were talking about having a little break, going away — and then two minutes later I ended up getting the call,” Konsa told a press conference.

“It was a weird feeling, it didn’t really sink in until I got home. I think my missus was crying a little bit, she was more excited that me. I’d rather be here anyway, so it’s fine.”

The 26-year-old was part of the England under-20 side that won the World Cup in 2017 and won seven caps at under-21 level.

But he credited his improvement under Emery for finally getting a senior call-up.

“I knew I had a lot to work on in my game. Only recently now, the last two seasons, we’ve excelled at Villa and that part of it has helped me become the player I am today,” he added.

“I knew my time would come, but it was just a matter of when. I was patient, and I’m proud.”

Konsa could get his chance to make a case to be in Southgate’s squad for Euro 2024 with England already assured of their place in Germany next year.

The Three Lions host Malta at Wembley on Friday before travelling to North Macedonia on Monday.

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