Sale star Chris Ashton has revealed he feels “privileged” to be included in England’s Six Nations starting line-up against France, Sky Sports report.
The 31-year-old is set to earn his 40th England cap on Sunday in what will be his first Six Nations start since 2013.
Ashton has been named to start ahead of Jack Nowell from the right wing, while lock Courtney Lawes has been promoted from the bench to replace the injured Maro Itoje in the second change from the impressive win over Ireland last weekend.
The wing, who’s last Six Nations start came against Wales in Cardiff in a disappointing 30-3 defeat, had been out of the international scene for a number of years, before an impressive loan spell in France caught the eye of head coach Eddie Jones.
And talking to the media ahead of the weekend’s fixture, Ashton revealed his determination to repay Jones’ decision to hand him a starting spot.
I went with (former South Africa wing) JP Pietersen to commentate on France against Italy.
At that time, I’d never have thought we’d be sat here with me about to play France.
When you’re younger and you’re in the team, you never think it’s going to be your last game.
You think you’re going to have good, long years at it, but that wasn’t the case for me.
I definitely understand what it’s like to not be involved and not have the shirt, so it’s a big privilege for me to be back in.
Of course this is what I came back to England for. I got a taste of it in the autumn so I’m past that point of it being a relatively new environment.
England will be aiming to continue their good form at home against France, who have failed to win at Twickenham in the Six Nations in 14 years.