Veteran England wing Mark Cueto has been told by interim coach Stuart Lancaster that he will not play in the Six Nations, but he has vowed to fight his way back into contention.
Lancaster and his assistants Andy Farrell and Graham Rowntree will be desperate to turn things around for England, and they are expected to leave out a few of the older players that went to the World Cup when the Six Nations squad is announced.
Although it has all been mere speculation Cueto confirmed what many were suspecting when he revealed that he has already met with Lancaster who told him that his services will not be required in the European competition next month.
He told the Daily Telegraph: "I'm not sure if I should be saying this, but I met Stuart. Fair play, he came to Manchester and we had a long chat about everything.
"He honestly explained the road he's going down in terms of selection, so I know I'm not going to be part of the Six Nations. At the same time, as I said to Stuart, if England still wanted me to play I still feel I can play at that level. I feel as if I've still got a lot to give," he added.
Although the news is disappointing, the Sale Sharks stalwart is determined to fight his way back into contention with some good form for his club.
"Now that I know I won't be involved in the Six Nations, it's not a case of me putting my hand up and saying I'm going to retire from international rugby. For me, it's just about enjoying playing for Sale and the revival we're having, and enjoying trying to push the club back up to where we want to be," he said.
He pointed out that Lancaster has only been appointed in an interim capacity, and explained that he is desperate to end his England career on a better note than the controversial World Cup exit last year.
"You don't know who is going to be in charge [after the Six Nations]. All the talk is that Stuart is going to be the interim head coach until the end of the season, then the RFU are going to appoint someone else. England are going out to South Africa in June, which will be quite a big tour, so who knows what might happen? There might be a place on that for the more senior, experienced guys," Cueto said.
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