Ireland wing Andrew Trimble knows he faces a difficult task to be included in his country's squad for the Rugby World Cup.
The 30-year-old was set to return to action after damaging a ligament in his left toe close to the end of last year, but he suffered another setback when he was told in February that he had to have surgery to fix the injury.
The operation meant the Ulster stalwart played no part in Ireland's successful Six Nations campaign.
He admitted that being named in Ireland's 45-man Rugby World Cup training group was a relief, but acknowledged that he will have to work hard if he wants to make coach Joe Schmidt's 31-man squad for the global showpiece later this year.
“I was relieved. The standard is so high at the moment,” Trimble told the Irish Independent.
“I think there’s eight wingers in the squad at the minute and every one of them is quality. They’re all playing good rugby and they’re serious athletes, their skills are good.
“You’re looking at them going ‘right, where can I get the edge on these guys?’ But you’re struggling to work it out.
“There’s a lot of quality there. There’s a lot of quality in Irish rugby. Irish rugby is going in an unbelievable direction at the minute.
“We won two Six Nations on the bounce and I want to be part of that. The standard has really moved on again in the last six or seven months when I haven’t been on the pitch.
“In some ways, I’ve got to play catch-up and make sure I get back in there and try and impress, get on the pitch, try and get a jersey and play some good rugby.”