Nowell grateful Lancaster kept the faith

England and Exeter Chiefs winger Jack Nowell says that he is “over the moon” after being named in Stuart Lancaster’s 33-man England squad for the upcoming Autumn Internationals.

Twenty-one-year-old Nowell has been injured for much of the year and has been on the sidelines since March with shoulder and knee injuries.

Nowell missed England’s tour to New Zealand as he needed surgery but after being included in the England squad he has the opportunity to add to his current tally of five international caps, all of which were gained during this year’s Six Nations campaign.

Now fighting fit following an extensive rehab programme, Nowell has returned to Chiefs action in recent weeks, helping the club position themselves in the top three of the Aviva Premiership after six rounds.

England coach Lancaster has kept close tabs on Nowell’s progress throughout the year – as well as casting a close eye over a number of other Exeter players, including the likes of Dave Ewers, Sam Hill and Henry Slade.

Nowell, though, is the man who has been given the nod and he has spoken of his delight at being included in the latest senior squad.

“I’m over the moon to be in the squad, it’s all very exciting,” he said.

“I think the big thing for me at the end of the Six Nations was that I knew I had to have a knee operation at the end of the season and to get back into the squad was one of my big goals.

“Having the operation during the summer I knew I would have a bit of time at the start of the season, so I was a bit worried about that, but here at Exeter they’ve given me the best chance to come back and be physically and mentally fit.”

Although named in the squad, Nowell is well aware he faces a tough task of winning back his starting spot in the England team, particularly with the competition for places that currently exists.

“There are a lot of boys on form at the moment,” added Nowell.

“Rokoduguni has played awesome this season and deserves his place; Jonny May I played with last year; and Marland Yarde is another top quality winger, so there is plenty of competition to get the shirt.”

And with the Rugby World Cup looming ever larger on the horizon for every international player, Nowell admits making a mark during the upcoming series is vital if he is to be considered in the mix by Lancaster.

“Obviously the World Cup is a goal for everyone, but first and foremost you have to worry about the here and now,” continued Nowell.

“The priority for me is to try and play in these Autumn internationals and then the Six Nations, then hopefully do enough to put my hand up for the World Cup.

“What I’ve learnt already from being in the whole England set-up is that you have to play your own game. I think the whole reason the coaches pick you is for what you do at your club.”

“When you’re away with them in camp or away playing, the coaches expect you to be yourself and do the same as you would do at a club because that is what has got you picked in the first place.

“Personally, I still pinch myself every time I’m involved because the moment you start relaxing and expecting stuff, that’s when things will slip away from you. For me, the big thing I always work on is doing the basics first and if it happens, it happens.”

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