Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Haskell has England in his sights

James Haskell is targeting an England return

James Haskell is ready to begin the task of reclaiming his England place after undergoing surgery to correct a knee problem that has troubled him for the past 10 years.

Haskell insists he was operating at only 70 per cent last season as the condition deteriorated, forcing the removal of the damaged bursa from his left knee.

While undergoing the procedure, the 28-year-old took the opportunity to clear up the tendinitis that has persisted for the last decade and is expected to make his comeback for Wasps in October.

"My knee wrecked because I was falling on it all the time," Haskell said.

"It affected me quite a bit. I came back from Japan and New Zealand with tendinitis in both my knees.

"It was debilitating, like running with bits of wood in front your knees. You can't bend, can't jump, can't explode or be powerful.

"I managed to get myself into a position to keep playing, but by that last game of the Six Nations I just wasn't able to perform.

"And then I had the issue with the bursa, which just made the tendinitis worse.

"I was probably operating at only 70 per cent last season. I managed to string some good games together for England and Wasps, but was not where I wanted to be."

Haskell was demoted to the England Saxons squad earlier this month, losing his place among the 33 in the elite player squad selected by Stuart Lancaster.

The 50-cap milestone was reached in the rout by Wales in England's final match of this year's RBS 6 Nations and Haskell is keen to add to that number, showing patience if necessary.

"I wasn't surprised when I dropped out because I wasn't part of the tour to Argentina in the summer," the versatile back row said.

"Matt Kvesic has been playing very well, Tom Croft is a double British and Irish Lion and Tom Wood is playing well.

"I've said to Stuart that I'm desperate to play for England, but I'm also happy to sit under the radar and build myself back up with Wasps.

"It's always difficult when you've been out of the mix for a while, you start looking at the other guys. There's a lot of talent around and you need to perform

"Slow and steady wins the race to come back. I don't expect to come back and be unbelievable, although this is the first proper rest I've had in the last five years.

"It's an opportunity during a non-stop career for 10 years to take my time and come back in good shape to play for Wasps and England.

"I'm older and wiser. I have my 50 caps for England and that can't be taken away from me."

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