James Haskell has opened up about being left out of the England squad for the upcoming autumn internationals.
Haskell, who has represented England 75 times since making his international debut a decade ago, was named "Man of the Series" a year ago in a 3-0 victory over Australia, but has had a dramatic fall from grace culminating in his omission.
"Sadly, playing for England is not like the Jonah Lomu Rugby video game where you can press save, reset it and start again," Haskell began.
"However, in real life, you CAN always use the next game to have another go . . . which I fully intend to do."
He consistently talks as though the snub is an inspiration for him to regain his form, coming across as very accepting of the decision, and while that kind of response is a common one, the forward seems genuine.
The 32-year-old found out that he would play no part in the autumn internationals in a meeting with head coach Eddie Jones - a meeting that Haskell admits would only be about one thing.
"I knew as soon as Eddie Jones got in touch a few weeks ago to say he wanted to come round for a chat that I was out of the autumn internationals," he explained.
"It was obvious he wasn’t coming round to offer me the England captaincy, so I didn’t bother getting out my best china.
"Contrary to what people might think since I revealed that I paint my toenails, I don’t live in a fantasy land.
"I knew I wasn’t up to scratch. After an operation on my hand, it had been a tough start to the season.
"It’s the first time I’ve not been selected for an England squad other than through injury. But it happens to everyone at some point in their career."
Despite the acceptance, Haskell remains strong in his belief that it's merely a setback and fully expects to be wearing an England shirt once again.
"You either see it as a chance to prove the boss wrong and make sure he picks you again — or fold up and be forgotten. I won’t be doing the latter."
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