Steven Taylor says he was never going to quit Newcastle despite the club's relegation from the Premier League in 2009.
The Magpies defender attracted the attention of a number of teams after his boyhood heroes dropped down into the Championship.
But despite knowing that a season out of the top flight would hinder his chances of playing for England, he says he was more than happy to put club before country.
"I think it was something I had to do and I was happy because Newcastle came straight back up," he told Soccer AM. "For me that was what it was all about.
"And now playing week in, week out for Newcastle I can hopefully get back into the England set-up - only I can get myself there."
Despite representing England at every level from the Under-16s up to the Under-21s, Taylor is now firmly behind the likes of Manchester United duo Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, as well as Bolton's Gary Cahill in the England pecking order.
Cahill and Smalling were both handed starts for the Euro 2012 qualifier against Bulgaria on Friday night, while Jones was part of the 25-man squad called up by England manager, Fabio Capello.
And Taylor revealed he was glad to see youth getting a chance over experience, even if he wasn't the one benefitting.
"We've got top quality defenders there and young lads as well" he added. "It's competition and I thrive on that sort of competition.
"It's great for Mr Capello to give them opportunities and hopefully one day (I'll get mine), you never know."
For now though, the 25-year-old says he is firmly focused on doing the best he can for Newcastle.
Alan Pardew's men have made an excellent start to the season with seven points from their opening three games, including a priceless win against local rivals Sunderland.
The feisty derby ended 1-0 in the Toon Army's favour, and Taylor revealed there's nothing quite like getting one over your local rivals!
"I think you have to play in front of 52,000 Geordie fans to understand that," he said. "For me I'm living my dream and to beat Sunderland was just the icing on the cake.
"Obviously where I'm from there's a lot of Sunderland fans working in the shops and nearby and it's a good feeling when you beat Sunderland and go into the shops - it's a massive thing.
"It does get a bit heated but I think that's part and parcel of it. You look around other derby games, but for me the main one is Newcastle v Sunderland. The tackles are always flying in!"