Lions tourist Lewis Moody claims he never doubted that he would return to international rugby.
The Leicester flanker will start for England against Australia at Twickenham on Saturday as he makes his first appearance against a major nation since the 2008 Six Nations defeat to Wales.
The 31-year-old has endured an injury-ravaged four years since returning from New Zealand as a Lions Test player in 2005, with the latest setback coming in the form of a broken ankle last January.
But despite his recent disappointments, Moody remained confident that he would one day pull on an England shirt again.
"It never crossed my mind that playing against Wales would be my last game for England," Moody told the Leicester Mercury ahead of the first of England's three autumn internationals.
"All I wanted to do was to get back to playing again and to enjoy the rugby at Leicester, which is my bread and butter.
"My thinking was if I am playing well for Leicester then what will come will come. That's always your thinking."
And come it has. Moody has been named in an all-Leicester back row alongside 2009 Lion Tom Croft and former Leeds No8 Jordan Crane to face the Wallabies prior to games against Argentina and New Zealand later this month.
With his form nearing its incredible best and spirits high in the England camp despite major disruptions, Moody cannot wait to get started.
"This season I just fell straight back into form and that has been the key for me," added Moody, who will win his 54th cap tomorrow.
"Sometimes, having come back from a number of injuries, the hardest thing is to get back into your form. The fitness team have done a great job and I just landed on my feet running this season.
"There is always a good feeling when England come together. England-Australia is always a great game. It is one of the games I love playing more than any other.
"They are going to throw everything they have at you in terms of tactical play. They are one of the most astute teams in the world and they always have one or two tricks up their sleeves."