Shropshire goalkeeper Joe Hart will have the whole support of the county behind him if he starts for England in the World Cup tomorrow, his proud father Charlie said today.
The 23-year-old Manchester City shot-stopper's meteoric rise to the pinnacle of English football so quickly may have come as a surprise to many - but not for Mr Hart senior.
For he has watched his talented son progress from a youngster in his junior teams in his hometown of Shrewsbury all the way through to turning pro with Shrewsbury Town FC and later playing in the Premier League for Man City and on loan at Birmingham City last season.
"He's there, he should be there and he should be playing," said Charlie.
"Without sounding big-headed he is a model sportsman, he is one of those infuriating people who can turn their hand to anything and be a success. If he wasn't playing football he would be playing professional cricket."
Shrewsbury has been buzzing with anticipation ahead of the tournament and its link with the England squad has never been so strong.
"I think when you come from a more isolated part of the world and you get something like this everybody does rally round," said Charlie.
"It's a great shot in the arm for the town and county. A lot of people know of him and they feel part of it which is absolutely fantastic."
But Charlie says Joe does not take anything for granted and is preparing for perhaps the biggest occasion of his career.
He said: "Four years ago he was watching it on TV with everyone else and now he's part of it. Your juices flow when you get the opportunity to play the biggest teams on the biggest stage there is in world sport.
"There is a bit more excitement and interest but at the end of the day he's got to get picked yet and no-one seems to know, not even the three goalies, nobody is sure what Capello is going to do."
Whether Joe is selected to start England's opening group game tomorrow against the USA in Rustenburg will have a massive bearing on where Charlie and wife Louise and the rest of the Hart family decide to watch the game. If he starts they will watch the game quietly at home in Gains Park, whereas if he has to settle for a place on the bench or less, Charlie will venture down to Rowton Castle Country Club to watch.
And if Joe does make Capello's starting XI Charlie may also go out to South Africa to watch his son in England's second game against Algeria on June 18 in Cape Town.
Charlie says he loves watching his son play football but he actually preferred to watch him play as a boy on the school field learning the sport which would eventually become his trade.
And he has nothing but praise for Joe's teachers at Oxon Primary School and Meole Brace, who he says played a key part in his development.
"It's all very well watching him play for Man City or Birmingham City but I don't get as much enjoyment as when I used to watch him play for SAHA or Meole Brace or playing cricket for Shrewsbury," he said.
"When children are little it does mean more to you, now it's his job."
By Russell Roberts