Lee Dickson is a man on a mission – he wants his England shirt back.
The Saints scrum-half has jetted off on the Red Rose’s summer tour to Uruguay and Argentina, and has revealed he is determined to end the trip as his country’s first-choice pick at No.9.
That was exactly what Dickson was a little over a year ago, but he has dropped down the pecking order, with England head coach Stuart Lancaster instead opting for Ben Youngs and Danny Care.
But with Youngs away with the British & Irish Lions and Care being given the summer off, the door has been opened for Dickson to reclaim his England spot.
“I have a busy summer ahead of me, and I am looking forward to putting my England hat on now and really trying to push on there,” said Dickson.
“I had a disappointing Six Nations, and autumn, and now I want that shirt to be mine.
“I am going out to Argentina to try to grab that with both hands.
“I want to put my hand up to Stuart (Lancaster) and show what I can do.”
And he added: “A year ago I was first choice and in the team, but that is rugby.
“I admit myself that mid-season I had a bit of a slump, and I didn’t deserve to play for England.
“But I have come back fighting, and I think for the past four or five weeks I have been on top of my game.
“I think I played well on Saturday, and hopefully I can go over to Argentina and really show some leadership skills and experience.”
Dickson is also looking forward to playing alongside plenty of club-mates while on tour.
Tom Wood is captain, while also travelling are Ben Foden, Courtney Lawes, Luther Burrell and Stephen Myler – and it’s the prospect of teaming up with his regular half-back partner on the international stage that really excites Dickson.
“It is brilliant to have the other Saints players on the tour, and a big mention goes to Stephen Myler,” he said. “He has been brilliant for Saints.
“He does have a lot of critics, but he has been phenomenal for the team, and he is such a brilliant bloke as well.
“He is an amazing rugby player, I love playing with him, and I am hoping I can play with him at England level as well as Saints. It would be amazing.”
England play their first match of the tour on Sunday when they take on a CONSUR XV in Montevideo.
They then head off to Argentina for two Tests against the Pumas on June 8 and 15, both of which will be shown live on BBC2.