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Barkley determined to bounce back

Olly Barkley admits his omission from England boss Martin Johnson's pre-World Cup plans was "a bitter pill to swallow".

Despite touring Australia and New Zealand with England earlier this summer, Barkley was the major casualty when Johnson announced the senior elite and England Saxons squads in July.

"He (Johnson) told me I didn't put my hand up enough on tour, and that is why I wasn't in the 64, and that there are areas of my defence I need to work on," said Barkley. "He felt I didn't play well enough in the (tour) games to warrant a position in the 64, which I didn't entirely agree with."

Barkley added: "I am never the type of guy to moan on the phone - I will just get my head down to work on it. He made his decision and I don't agree with him, but I have to live with it."

As for his World Cup hopes, Barkley added: "I will never let that die. I am very simple and straight-forward about how I look at my rugby now.

"I clearly don't figure in their plans - I am not even in the 64, and that was a bitter pill to swallow.

"But when I broke my leg last year, my prime focus was not to get back into the England side, it was to play as well as I possibly could. I felt I did myself justice by that and that is my mindset at the moment.

"If they (England) want me to work on things and become a better player in certain areas, I am all for that. I am all for making myself better."


From Belfast Telegraph