Corbisiero keen to silence doubters
Alex Corbisiero was angry at being written off as an injury liability last season and is determined to prove the doubters wrong as he gears up for England's first Test against Argentina on Saturday.
Corbisiero has undergone two knee operations in the last 12 months and was restricted to just five appearances for London Irish this season and two for England, against South Africa and New Zealand.
Exiles director of rugby Brian Smith claimed in January that Corbisiero's knee was "a mess" and that he was suffering from "degenerative issues", raising fears over his future. But the 24-year-old, who is leaving London Irish for Northampton this summer, has rejected Smith's assessment and says he feels better than ever heading into the two-Test series.
"If people think there are question marks about my career, they can think again. I am ready to crack on and there are some big games ahead of me that I relish," Corbisiero said. "There were some unfortunate things said in the press and perceptions put out there that were out of my hands.
"I know where I want to be and what I am capable of. I'm fit, strong and ready to play some rugby on this tour, which is a great opportunity. It is a great opportunity to finish the season on a high and then get ready for what is ahead of me next year."
Corbisiero first had surgery after suffering the injury on last summer's tour of South Africa and he required a second procedure at the start of this year.
"There were some pretty dark times. I had to pick myself up and just had to focus on getting healthy," Corbisiero said. "I had to get it right, I could not carry on struggling with it. I needed to get it fixed but I feel great now. I am probably in the best shape of my life.
"I had to be patient because it was frustrating missing the Six Nations, but I made the right decision and I was glad I was able to come back for those last few games and finish up at a club I love on a high note."
Corbisiero's injury, and his subsequent lack of game-time, ultimately cost him a place on the British and Irish Lions tour, a fate that also befell his England team-mate Ben Foden.
"You can't look back on things like that. At the time that was one of the uncontrollable things in my life," Corbisiero said. "You can't wave a wand and fix it and be ready to go. Other guys took their opportunities really well, guys like Mako Vunipola, and they deserve their spots."