At 31 the Tottenham anchor has accrued only 13 caps in a stop-start England career but is set for a crucial role under in Ukraine and Poland.
Having waited so long to play at the highest level, it is one he intends to grasp with both hands.
"It's a massive tournament for me personally," Parker told BBC Radio Five live.
"At 31 it's my first tournament so it's one I have been looking forward to for a long time and I am over the moon.
"You always watch the games and wish you could be there or playing a part in it but for one reason or another it wasn't meant to be.
"I suppose now I am here I need to try to soak up every bit of it and do the best I can when I'm called upon."
With Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard both missing through injury, Parker and captain Steven Gerrard have hugely important roles in the centre of the park.
Explaining his responsibilities under Roy Hodgson, Parker added: "Under this manager we are going to have a very organised team, a team which is tactically aware and if you have to grind out results then that is how it has to be.
"Midfield is obviously a crucial part of a team and a game. You obviously need to win the battles in midfield and from there give yourselves a platform to go and attack and obviously be solid in defence."
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