Saracens wing Chris Ashton believes he is rediscovering the form needed to be a serious contender for England again.
Having sneaked into England's elite player squad purely on reputation following a below par season that saw him miss out on a place in the British and Irish Lions tour, the 26-year-old is confident that the time he spent away from top-flight rugby will benefit him in the long run.
Ashton proved that he still has what it takes, when he ran in the only try during Sarries' 22-12 Aviva Premiership victory at Harlequins on Saturday. Although it was only his second try in four matches, his work off the ball has been impressive while he may still look to improve his defence which has been found wanting at times.
"I wanted to be involved in the summer, but having a rest mentally was probably a good thing," he told PA Sport.
"It was time to sit at home and let other lads have a go.
"It gave England a good chance to look at some other lads. They played well and it was tough to watch, but I was glad to get the rest."
Ashton used the summer to reflect on his game and is now confident that he would be able to give incumbents Marlon Yarde and Christian Wade a run for their money in the national set-up.
I was sitting at home watching the Lions and England tours and it was difficult viewing," he added.
"That spurs you on that little bit more.
"Last year did not go the way I wanted it to and I was ready to change things. I like to think I'm starting to do that."
Despite the positive start to the season Ashton received a welcome wake-up call when Harlequins wing Ugo Monye raced past him after he was caught out of position.
"I may have got down last year but it's rugby and I do it because I enjoy it," Ashton said.
"I had to get back to enjoying it and this season I am.
"It's always good to score tries, but I was just as happy with my game last week and the week before despite not scoring.
"I have tried hard to develop more of an all round game and not just be there for scoring tries."