John Stones says he felt helpless having to watch England on TV, after being recalled to the squad for the first time since November 2019.
Stones, part of the side that reached the 2018 World Cup semi-final, fell out of favour at Manchester City in the following two seasons.
But a return to form in 2020-21 as part of the Premier League’s meanest defence has led to an international recall.
“It was very tough and I think it would be the same for everyone,” Stones said.
“It was difficult watching from home,” added the 26-year-old, one of five centre-backs in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the forthcoming 2022 World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland.
“You feel a bit helpless that you can’t contribute and be a part of the squad, but I used it as a motivation to strive to be better.
“When I got the text the other day, it was a great feeling to be back involved and see all the faces I’ve got some great memories with.
“I was very nervous. I had worked so hard and I was hearing people say ‘you should be in’. But I didn’t take any of that in until the text arrived. I wanted to hear from the source. I was absolutely made up.”