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Darren so proud to fly flag for England

PUBLISHED: 11:00 28 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:51 01 July 2010

Paddy Davitt

Darren Cann is relishing the prospect of flying the flag for England at the World Cup finals.

The Poringland assistant referee was part of the English team of officials widely praised for their recent handling of the showpiece Champions League Final between Inter Milan and Bayern Munich at the Bernabeu.

Darren Cann is relishing the prospect of flying the flag for England at the World Cup finals.

The Poringland assistant referee was part of the English team of officials widely praised for their recent handling of the showpiece Champions League Final between Inter Milan and Bayern Munich at the Bernabeu.

Cann, along with Howard Webb and fellow assistant Mike Mullarkey, are now putting the final touches to their preparations before flying out to South Africa.

“I really can't wait to get going,” he said. “It is the pinnacle of any referee's career, in the same way that every professional footballer wants to play in the tournament.

“It's something I wanted to do ever since I started refereeing and I never thought it would come along. It just goes to show if you work hard and make a lot of sacrifices and, with a lot of help along the way, you can go to a tournament like the World Cup and hopefully do England proud.

“We arrive nine days before the tournament starts and we'll undergo a lot of physical training and making sure we are acclimatised to the altitude at our base near Pretoria.

“The 24 refereeing trios from around the world will find out their first games probably a few short days before the tournament begins.”

Cann admitted the English trio had been delighted with their Champions League display officiating at the biggest club game in world football.

“We were absolutely thrilled in terms of how the game went and our performance,” he said. “Having looked back at the game, and I watch every game we do both domestically and overseas, it's very rare to come off afterwards and not wish to change anything.

“Usually you have a throw-in here or there or a free kick or a corner that you feel you perhaps needed to see again just to confirm whether the decision was correct or not - but it's a great feeling to come off and know that there isn't one thing you would really want to change.

“For it to happen on a stage like the Bernabeu and on such a great occasion, we all felt quite humbled and perhaps had the sense that someone was looking after us on the night.”

Cann revealed the enormity of the occasion hit home on the final whistle after Inter's 2-0 win.

“There was a moment, and it was quite unusual, where we allowed ourselves just to have a look around the stadium,” he said. “We received our trophies from Michel Platini and it was a special moment walking up those steps and receiving that.

“Then when we came back down the other side and just stood on the pitch and when you look around at such a magnificent arena there was a lump in my throat. It was hard to keep a dry eye.

“I almost think it was the realisation and the release of adrenaline and emotion to come off such a big stage and feel we wouldn't want to change anything.

“There were no controversial decisions and actually no offsides in the game, which is quite unusual.

That single game is without doubt the highlight of my career. The World Cup will be another amazing occasion and one we can't wait for.”

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