Havant & Waterlooville striker Alfie Rutherford eyes a renewed challenge for England C honours
Alfie Rutherford is planning a renewed challenge for England honours.
The Hawks striker was unfortunate to miss out on a C team call-up during a rich vein of form last season.
Rutherford, 20, netted 15 goals in his maiden campaign at National League level.
Lee Bradbury’s outfit were relegated to National League South – and the boss replaced by Paul Doswell.
But the slip to the second tier of non-league football has not dimmed Rutherford’s ambition.
The former Pompey youngster said: ‘Last season Lee told me England manager Paul Fairclough had been on the phone.
‘I thought if ever I was destined to get a chance it would have been then.
‘Looking at the squad I felt I deserved a chance because I was in form.
‘There were also players in there playing at a lower level.
‘It was just one of those things but I will look to try to break in this season. Hopefully my time will come.’
England C, formerly known as England Non-League, was formed in 1979 and is a squad selected from players outside the Premier League and Football League.
They played two games last term – drawing 2-2 with Wales in March after Rutherford’s former Hawks team-mate Alfie Pavey fired them to a 1-0 win over Estonia in October.
Following his arrival as manager, Doswell has introduced three morning training sessions at Westleigh Park.
And Rutherford reckons that move will boost his own performances as well as giving the Hawks the best chance of an instant return to the National League.
The striker added: ‘Training three mornings a week will make us a lot stronger this season.
‘It is something I have always wanted to do.’
Rutherford is close to a return to action after undergoing a knee operation during pre-season.
The Hawks begin their National League South campaign with the visit of Welling United to Westleigh Park on Saturday (3pm).
Doswell’s men have won five of their pre-season friendlies – including victories over National League opponents Sutton United and Eastleigh.