Gloucester and England winger James Simpson-Daniel believes his new relaxed attitude has helped him produce some of the best form of his career.
Despite missing the defeat to Leicester with a leg injury, Simpson-Daniel has run in five tries his last two matches after returning to his favoured position on the wing.
Just two years ago, Simpson-Daniel was named Guinness Premiership Player of the Season – a feat that led him to been named in Martin Johnson’s first England squad.
Since then a combination of fitness and form have held back his progress but Simpson-Daniel says he is deliberately not pinning all his hopes on an immediate return to Johnson’s RBS 6 Nations squad.
He said: “In the past I thought about getting into the England team all the time and that didn’t help matters.
“There was always the danger of getting your hopes too high and setting yourself up for a fall.
“It sounds clichéd but now I really am just focusing on playing well for Gloucester and I know that if I play well then everything else will just follow.
“I’m feeling good in myself and have only suffered a couple little knocks so apart from them I’m feeling as strong as I ever have.
“I’m much more relaxed on the pitch too and getting back out on the wing has been great and even though the tries I’ve scored haven’t been the best of my career you still have to be there to take the chances.
“It would be great to get back in the England squad and of course it’s still a goal of mine but for the time being I have to be content with watching them on TV which is a bit less demanding!”
But despite his England ambitions Simpson-Daniels first job is to make sure Gloucester build on their recent good form and secure Heineken Cup qualification at the Kingsholm Stadium next season.
“We’ve made some big improvements over the past few weeks,” he added.
“There have been lots of little mistakes and if things had been slightly different we could be a lot better off.
“But we are an honest group of lads and everyone at the club says what they feel and I think it’s that spirit that has seen us improve so much.
“We know that European rugby is a must for this club and everyone here will be working as hard as they can to make sure we achieve that.”