Danny Welbeck has revealed that he feared he would be ruled out of Euro 2012 after suffering an ankle injury in the Manchester derby.
The Manchester United striker was felled by Nigel de Jong in the closing stages of the game at the Etihad Stadium in April, and Welbeck admits it was an immediate cause for concern.
But the 21-year-old completed his recovery by scoring the winner against Belgium on Saturday, and is now tipped to start in England's opening game of the tournament against France on Monday.
Welbeck said: "When I suffered the injury against City, I did initially fear the worst. That night I went home and all sorts of emotions went through my head.
"I didn't know what was happening until I had the scan in the morning. At that point, it was very downheartening but luckily I've come back from that and it wasn't as bad as I first feared.
"At times I was thinking 'maybe I won't be able to make it' but I'm glad the manager (Roy Hodgson) kept faith in me and I was always ready to go once I was called upon."
And he repaid the faith Hodgson showed in him in style at Wembley, coolly converting a chance laid on for him by Ashley Young to claim his first senior international goal.
He continued: "I was delighted to get my first goal for England. It was something I'd been looking forward to since I was a little kid.
"I'm now looking to build on that and get more goals under my belt and more caps as well but I'm just glad that I'm fit.
"I've had a few training sessions under my belt and had 55 minutes against Belgium. The match fitness is coming along and I'm just really looking forward to building on that before the first game."
Welbeck was tipped by Sir Alex Ferguson to star at the World Cup two years ago. He's now hoping he can live up to his club manager's expectations, albeit two years later than predicted.
"That season I didn't play as many games as I wanted to for United," he said. "It was tough but when you hear stuff like the manager's comments it does give you a lift, although you can't really look too much into it."
But he will be heeding the advice of Ferguson when he pulls on the England shirt in Poland and the Ukraine.
"Just before I left to meet up with the squad, I had a few words with him (Ferguson).
"He was congratulating me on making the squad and he just told me to play my normal game once I go out there."