Birmingham ace accepts he will never play for England

The 34-year-old believes his reputation as ‘some kind of animal’ will see him overlooked by England.

“I could score 20 goals this season but there is absolutely no way I am going to be on that plane to the World Cup. No way whatsoever,” Bowyer told The Guardian.

“There are too many people who have made up their minds about me and wouldn’t want me anywhere near the England team.”

Bowyer was given his only England cap by Sven-Goran Eriksson against Portugal in September 2002.

“It was a brave thing for an England manager to do at that time, but everything was dredged up in the media and, after that, I didn’t get another look-in,” Bowyer added.

“I’ve got one cap but it should have been 20 or 30, maybe even more, and that’s not me being big-headed. I just think I deserved to play for England a lot more.

“I got three player-of-the-year awards at Leeds in a side that got to the semi-finals of the Champions League. I scored six goals in the competition, which made me the joint top scorer, and Uefa put me in their team of the tournament.

“But I got nothing in England. Instead they just brought in some rule from nowhere that said a footballer shouldn’t be allowed to play for England if they were involved in a court case.

“I thought there was a saying in this country that you were innocent until proven guilty. I was the exception. I was seen as guilty even though I was innocent. And that’s what I was – innocent.

“But they made up this new rule that had never been used before and that seems to have been mysteriously dropped now. It was like a campaign to keep me out.

“There have been loads of players who have had problems, court cases etc, outside of football and they have still been allowed to have international careers without always being reminded of it.

“Some have even captained England. But it’s one rule for them, and another for me.”