David Dunn had a successful footballing career spanning 18 years before moving into the coaching side of the game.
Now a first team coach at Blackpool, Dunn’s glory years on the pitch came in two spells at Blackburn Rovers and it was there where he earned the recognition of then England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson.
Eriksson awarded Dunn his solitary England cap in September 2002 – a half-time substitute for Steven Gerrard in a friendly against Portugal – but 40-year-old Dunn can’t help thinking of what could have been.
“I know that I should’ve had more caps. I truly wish that I’d knuckled down at times and pushed myself that bit more.
“I’m really proud that I played professionally for my country, it’s what I started out wanting to do but there’s always that little bugbear that I could and maybe should’ve had more caps.”
Dunn was speaking to UCLAN journalism students in an online Q&A, recalling both the good and the bad times in his career.
The students gleaned some vital information from the former Premier League player, none more so than to take on board advice from those who have worked in the industry.
Recalling a key moment from his own career, Dunn said: “If I had followed Graham Souness’ advice to become a more defensive midfielder when he was the Blackburn manager, I would’ve got more England caps.
“I’d scored 18 goals the season before so I didn’t want to and at the time there was so many fantastic players to nudge out the way, but I know if I’d have taken his advice, I would’ve won more caps.”
Playing for the Three Lions in midfield at that time was certainly an achievement.
There was competition from Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes and David Beckham to name but a few but Dunn told students that being in a dressing room with the stars of the game didn’t faze him.
The Rovers stalwart went on to tell the students a sensational tale about his first ever England training session.
“We’d finished training and Sven told us that before we got back on the bus, we had to hit the crossbar with a shot from the halfway line.
“Everyone was missing, and it came to me. I just dinked it, turned around and shouted, ‘I’ll catch you all on the bus!’
“I heard the ball hit the bar and just carried on walking. All the lads couldn’t believe it!”
Dunn was never afraid of pulling off a trick and is remembered in the Midlands for one piece of skill in particular.
He admitted that a failed rabona attempt in a derby between Birmingham – who he played for at the time -and Aston Villa had comically come back to haunt him later on in life.
“I walked into an electrical shop to buy a TV and there I was on 50 plus screens with my failed rabona!
“The advert said, ‘We’re bringing Sky playback in for those unforgettable times you want to see over and over again!’ and let’s be honest if it was anybody else who’d done it, I’d want to see it!”
Despite having won numerous trophies in his years as a player as well as making an appearance for England, Dunn did not manage to play at Wembley Stadium.
His solitary England cap came at Villa Park due to it coming in the period when the new Wembley stadium was being built.
Unfortunately for the midfielder, the same can be said for League Cup victory with Blackburn in the same year, when the final against Tottenham Hotspur was played at the Millennium stadium in Cardiff.
He said: “Not playing at Wembley was a regret of mine. When I went to Oldham at the back end of my career, I thought I might have a good chance of getting there in the Football League trophy, but it wasn’t to be.”