(Reuters) - Flanker James Haskell has not given up hope of playing for England again but admits he faces a tough challenge to make it back into Eddie Jones’s squad.
Haskell was left out of England’s 33-member training squad in Oxford ahead of November’s autumn internationals with Jones picking uncapped fly-half Marcus Smith and hooker Tom Dunn.
Haskell said he understood Jones’s decision and conceded he had to keep working hard with Premiership side Wasps and earn a recall.
“I’d say I’m probably halfway down the cliff. Maybe holding onto a shrub. Or I’m on a rope and they’ve lit the rope, very Indiana Jones-style,” Haskell told British media.
“You’ve just got to keep working hard. I need more peaks than troughs in games if I’ve got any desire to fight my way back into England, which is going to be very hard.
“I’ve got every confidence that I can come back and be involved. If I didn’t, then I’d probably just retire.”
The 32-year-old missed the start of the season with a finger injury and said the chance of playing for England again was driving him on.
“If he called me up today and said I wasn’t in the squad, I wouldn’t be able to say anything other than ‘ok’, and get on with it,” Haskell said.
“I care about winning, about this club and I want to play for England more than anything else, it’s why I play rugby and it’s such a great team to be a part of.”
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly