Sale Sharks fly-half Danny Cipriani admits that it is still his dream to play for England, but his focus is on surviving relegation.
Sale currently sit five points clear of safety at the bottom of the Aviva Premiership table, despite a summer of high-profile recruits that included Cipriani's return from Australia after a stint with the Melbourne Rebels.
Last capped by England back in 2008, the 25-year old has endured a rollercoaster season with the Sharks - criticised by owner Brian Kennedy and temporary head coach John Mitchell earlier in the season, along with showing flashes of talent.
"I spoke to Stuart recently and he's given me some encouragement," said Cipriani to The Rugby Paper.
"I'm still in their thoughts, just like everyone else, and he's told me to keep working hard and show what I can do.
"It's still my dream to play for England. I came back from Australia to fulfil that ambition.
"I'm trying to keep my head down, work hard and we'll see what happens. But it all depends on how I play for Sale and that's my focus. We're at the wrong end of the table and the main thing is get clear."
Having won their last three matches, Cipriani believes Sale are beginning to turn the corner, with a must-win visit to London Welsh this weekend looming on the horizon.
"We've become a lot more consistent since Christmas and Steve Diamond deserves a lot of credit for that," added Cipriani.
"He's passionate about Sale, passionate about forward play and he's sorting that side of things out.
"You saw that at Wasps, where the forwards got us on to the front foot and I was able to play my natural game. I'm working hard to improve the defensive aspects but any fly-half needs good forwards in front of him.
"It wasn't a particularly great time when John was here. We didn't know whether he was staying or going and that creates uncertainty and it's good we now know where we stand with Dimes (Diamond) for the rest of the year.
"Steve has worked hard on that and bringing in Dan Braid has been a masterstroke. He's a world-class player who's got vast experience in Super XV and he's a great communicator, giving advice to the forwards and all of us around him.
"He could be one of the signings of the season and we're starting to get some structure in our game."