How Bothroyd went from Arsenal sulk to England secret weapon
Published 23:00 14/11/10 By John Cross
Jay Bothroyd last night claimed he has finally come of age after getting into the England squad.
The 28-year-old Cardiff striker described his call-up as the best moment of his career as he looks to win his first England cap against France on Wednesday.
It has been a topsy-turvy career, having been kicked out by Arsenal at 18 for throwing his shirt at the bench after being substituted in a youth match - an incident he describes as "the biggest mistake of his life."
But after a spell in Italy with Perugia, scratching out a career with Coventry, Charlton, Wolves with loan spells at Stoke and Blackburn, Bothroyd is now in the form of his life at Cardiff.
He can become the first-ever Cardiff player to play for England after hitting 15 goals this season and scoring in his last six games.
Bothroyd, who celebrated his call-up by going to David Haye's world title fight, said: "This is the best moment of my career. I'm just happy to be part of it. I'm looking forward to meeting up with the boys and training.
"It's such an honour to be called up for my country by Mr Capello, like all kids playing football, I dreamt of this moment and now I can't wait to join up with the players and coaching staff.
"I'm over the moon, ecstatic, I couldn't sleep last night, I just keep thinking about being called up and all the people that have supported me.
"I joined Cardiff with a determination and focus to try and fulfil my potential and Dave Jones and all the coaching staff deserve credit and have been brilliant.
"The fans have been fantastic since I joined the club and have played a big part as well.
My family, friends and my agent Sky Andrew have not only supported me but have given the honesty I've needed to keep me on track.
"Although I've scored 15 goals this term it reflects how good my team mates are and how hard we are all working to make Cardiff a Premier League team.
"I've always been confident in my own ability. Maybe when I was younger I didn't apply myself enough. But I'm doing that now and the rewards are coming.
"Of course I'll be nervous, especially if I'm involved in the game. But hopefully it will be better than my last game at Wembley when we lost the play-off final."
His Cardiff boss Dave Jones (below) said: "He's not an out-and-out big target man. He can drift, he's got good ability, good pace.
"He's what we call high maintenance. But he is a lovely lad, he wants to do well.
"Most footballers are high maintenance. Sometimes players get a reputation with other clubs. You only find out when you work with them and he is a genuine and honest player."
Maybe his experiences in Italy swung England boss Fabio Capello. And if that was not the deciding factor than his outlook on life will have impressed him.
Bothroyd said: "Italy was like a dream. When the opportunity came about I thought: 'I need to do this.'
"It didn't hit home how big it was until the third game of the season when we played AC Milan and there in the tunnel next to me were Maldini, Nesta, Kaka and Shevchenko. I was in awe of them. It was a great experience.
"It improved me, it was a different way of life, different language and a new challenge. But the one thing it showed me was the focus you need to make it.
"You have to maximise what you have. I have finished burning the candle at both ends and as soon as one game finishes then all I think about is the next one."
That is the attitude Capello looks for in a player, no matter which division they play in.