James Tarkowski is looking forward to watching England in the World Cup, happy with the fact that he did his best to answer any possible call-up for Russia.
The Clarets’ defender – capped for the first time in a March friendly against Italy – was placed on stand-by for the tournament.
But after a week in the England camp, the 25-year-old was forced to withdraw with a hernia problem which required surgery.
“It wasn’t something that had come out of nowhere. I had been struggling for a while with it and I knew at some point I had to get it done,” said Tarkowski.
“It was just finding the right chance and in a World Cup year and after being called up in the March group, it was a difficult decision to make.
“But I feel it was the right one to make going into next season.”
Tarkowski was troubled with the problem towards the back end of last season when he helped Burnley finish seventh in the Premier League.
But he wanted to report to St George’s Park to keep himself in the frame for a possible late inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s 23-man squad for the Finals.
He told Clarets Player HD: “It was tough with the England one because I was quite new to it and it never looks well when someone just pulls out of the squad, especially before they even turn up.
“I felt it was the right thing to do for me to turn up and try my best to get through it.
“But I just didn’t feel right and it’s not fair on myself or the players there if I’m not 100 per cent and I’m called upon and I want to do myself justice when I’m around that group.
“This season is more important.”
Having trained alongside Burnley team-mate Nick Pope (above) with the England squad, Tarkowski got a first-hand feel for the mood in the camp.
And the centre-back is optimistic about England’s prospects as they prepare for their opening Group G game against Tunisia on Monday night.
“I really enjoyed myself there and I can see why the lads who are part of it enjoy being around it,” he added.
“It’s a great group of people, players and staff and I’m looking forward to watching it and seeing how they get on.
“I haven’t been around in other World Cups or tournaments so I can’t comment on how it was then, but from what I’ve seen it’ a very positive camp.”
Tarkowski underwent successful surgery at the beginning of the month and is already back working at the Clarets’ Barnfield Training with the start of pre-season training just a fortnight away.
“I’ve recovered really well. I’m really surprised to be honest,” he said.
“I thought it would be a bit longer before I was back outside doing work but the surgeon has done a good job and I feel probably the best I have in quite a long time. It’s just getting that fitness back.”
Watch the full James Tarkowski interview where he talks about his England call, injury and thoughts on the new season with Burnley by clicking on the free video at the top of the page