Ben Foden can’t wait to get back in action for Saints after recovering from a long-term knee injury.
The England full-back ruptured his left ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in January’s Champions Cup win at Ospreys.
It ruled him out of action for the rest of the campaign, but he has since returned to full fitness and taken a full part in pre-season training.
And now he is just depserate to get his match sharpness back, with friendly matches at Saracens and Wasps during the next couple of weeks in his sights.
“It’s taken a bit of time, about seven months, but I felt good after about six and a half,” said Foden, who spent two weeks in Philadelphia during his rehab, working with knee specialist Bill Knowles.
“I’ve been ready to go and I’ve done everything since we started pre-season back here.
“But match fitness is the most important thing and hopefully I can get that over the next couple of weeks.”
The 30-year-old has endured lengthy spells on the sidelines at key times in his career, but the ACL problem was particularly unfortunate with huge domestic, European and international games in the offing when he was ruled out.
And he said: “Any injury at any time, especially the severity of an ACL, is never good to pick up but it was really, really bad timing.
“I was starting to string a few games together, putting a bit of pressure on the other 15s and competing for that England shirt.
“C’est la vie, it wasn’t to be and I’ll look forward to other challenges around the corner with Saints and hopefully, in the future, England as well.”
Mike Brown has made the England 15 shirt his own in recent seasons, with Saracens player Alex Goode his current back-up at the World Cup.
But Foden has trained with the national squad since returning to fitness and he is ready and waiting if they do need him during the tournament.
“It’s competitive and Danny Cipriani is in that area of covering 10 and 15 so they have some choices to make, but I worked well when I went down there for the week,” said Foden.
“I trained at full-back, I trained on the wing and they know I can do both of them at the top level.
“Hopefully I’ll be in their thoughts.
“I don’t wish any injuries on anybody, but it does happen and if it does I’ll be ready and waiting and hopefully I’ll take the opportunity when it arises.”