Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder David Beckham has insisted playing in the United States will help his England career, rather than hinder it.
Most observers believed Beckham's mega-money move to Major League Soccer signaled the beginning of the end where his international career was concerned.
Indeed, the former Real Madrid
But the 33-year-old is adamant that playing in an unfashionable league should not affect his England career, insisting the quality of play across the pond is vastly underestimated.
"The standard in the USA is higher than anyone thinks and expects," he said. "America is a great place to play and the standard is improving all the time.
"People say, 'Can you play at this level or that level,' but it doesn't change me as a player. I'm always going to be the same player -- whether I'm playing in Spain, England or the USA. That won't affect my game.
"I can switch from playing in the USA at the weekend to then playing on a Wednesday against one of the best teams in the world and the best players in the world.
"I'll always be the same player that, if given two or three yards, I can cross a ball into the danger area. People have said I've lost my pace but I've never had a major amount of pace anyway. I have never really been someone who has gone past players."
The major concern for many is whether Beckham can maintain his fitness levels during the MLS offseason, which coincides with the middle of the European season.
But the former Manchester United believes his physical shape is not an issue, and hopes to be a major part of England's 2010 World Cup campaign.
"Fitness-wise, I feel I can carry on for a few years," he said. "If I felt I couldn't carry on, maybe I'd turn around and retire from international football but that is not the case.
"Of course, things can change. At the moment I am taking each game as it comes. Who knows what is around the corner? You can have extreme highs and lows.
"I've had those in the last couple of years but I wouldn't be putting myself forward if I couldn't physically do it still. I still feel I can perform at the highest level and it is exciting to play again under Fabio Capello, who is a great manager.
"I want to be part of the squad for the 2010 World Cup if at all possible. The manager has already said if I stay fit and I am performing, then I've got a chance to be in the squad."