Andrew Sheridan insists he is fit and ready to play for England again if Stuart Lancaster comes calling during the RBS 6 Nations.
The 32-year-old was sidelined for five months with a career-threatening shoulder injury suffered during the World Cup but made his comeback for Sale last weekend.
Yet despite the giant prop’s proven international ability his short-term and long-term England prospects look bleak with Lancaster giving youth a chance in this year’s tournament and Sheridan setting sail for France at the end of the season.
The Sale prop’s decision to join Toulon on a three-year deal this coming summer all-but rules him out of future England contention with the RFU only allowing players playing outside of the Premiership to be picked in ‘exceptional circumstances’.
But with 40 England caps and two Lions Tests to his name, Sheridan has no interest in fading away, claiming he’ll always answer the Red Rose call.
“I haven’t turned down playing for England – they may turn me down but while I am playing at a decent level I always want to be considered,” said Sheridan.
“I haven’t spoken to Stuart, but I have a standard contract with Toulon so I will be released in the IRB window and if I am selected I would be very happy to play. They have the ‘exceptional circumstances’ rule so it is up to them.
“When I was injured at the World Cup I did think, ‘Is this going to be it?’ But the surgeon was adamant that I would be able to get back to playing at decent level. It was a long road, but it’s nice to be back.
“Our scrum did pretty well in those first two games and we will have Courtney Lawes, who is a powerful athlete, and Manu Tuilagi to come in too. I don’t think many people would question his power or fancy stopping him.
“To bring in a new management and a lot of new players and win their first two games away from home, England deserve a lot of credit.
“The performances are only going to get better as they play more together. We have some tough matches coming up, but there is no reason why we can’t go on and do well.”