Simpson-Daniel keen to make his mark

James Simpson-Daniel is determined to finally make his mark at international level with England. [more]

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James Simpson-Daniel is determined to finally make his mark at international level with England.

Simpson-Daniel has won just nine Test caps in four years, as a succession of untimely injuries and illness curtailed his progress.

However, more recently, his inability to get in the side has been more down to confusion over whether he is best employed as an outside centre or winger.

But in Sunday’s non-cap international clash with the Barbarians he will be deployed on the wing, and he intends to stay there through next month’s tour to Australia and on into England’s World Cup defence.

"We are constantly being told by the coaches you have to take your chance. The person I thought took his chance brilliantly was Mark Cueto. He came into the side in 2004, played superbly and has been involved for England ever since," said Simpson-Daniel.

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"I hope to prove a point this summer. I am hoping to get some games going now. I’d love to have a run with England rather than one-off Tests. I’d love to have two, three, four games in a row and find some form.

"I think I’ve only had one good game for England and that was in my second cap versus Australia in 2002. I’d like to have some more and hopefully I can’t be dropped if I play well.

"If a few of our guys play really well this summer then come next season, when we are back with all the regular starters, I think the coaches would find it hard to drop the guys who have done well.

"I haven’t managed to do that over my England career so far and that is what I find most frustrating."

Simpson-Daniel is no longer daunted by the company he keeps in an England squad and his goal is to become one of the senior figures in the Red Rose set-up.

"I have thought about the direction my career has gone and it has been a bit zig-zaggy. Injuries are part of what we do and I have had them at bad times in my career," said Simpson-Daniel.

"But I am more relaxed now. When I was first on the England scene I was always very nervous being around the big dogs like Martin Johnson, Phil Vickery and Will Greenwood because I had so much respect for them.

"I respect these guys now but I think I have that much more experience. Next year is my seventh year of professional rugby.

"I am desperate to have a run, be a regular starter and get into that big-dog bracket myself. It is what every player wants."

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