Hard work pays off for Armitage
Delon Armitage will complete a "massive turnaround" to his career when he starts for England in their opening Rugby World Cup game against Argentina on Saturday.
Armitage feared his chequered disciplinary record, which saw him banned last season for abusing an anti-doping official and for punching, would cost him a place at the World Cup. But a combination of the London Irish back's recent form and an injury to Mark Cueto has earned him a starting berth on the left wing for England's showdown with the Pumas.
"I didn't even think I'd be over here so it's a massive turnaround. If you do the hard work, the right things, sometimes you get your rewards," said Armitage.
"I'm really happy the way things have gone. When I was told by Martin that I would be starting he mentioned it was because of the way I'd been training and playing over the summer.
"It's massive satisfaction. To have the opportunity to start now, I'm speechless, it's like a dream come true."
Armitage was banned from the Six Nations for clashing with an anti-doping official after a London Irish game and he was in hot water soon after his return for punching Northampton fly-half Stephen Myler.
"What's happened has happened. (The England management) didn't really need to say anything to me. I just had to train hard," Armitage said.
"My record for England is really good, I've never had a problem or issues with discipline. There was nothing for me to really fix. I just wanted to keep doing what I'm doing for England and get some form back."
Armitage made his Test debut against the Pacific Islands in 2008 and enjoyed a flying start to his England career before injury and a chronic loss of form halted his progress.
"I play a lot better with a smile on my face, when I am relaxed and enjoying it and recently I have got to back that," he said. "The style England are playing, the way we want to throw the ball around and the way we want to have a go that suits the way we want to play."