Hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie has not given up hope on returning to the England squad, despite missing out on the recent Rugby World Cup.
The 30-year-old has been suffering from a long-standing neck problem, an injury which ruled him out of the global tournament.
It also contributed to his move to French outfit Montpellier falling through.
That has ultimately kept his international ambitions alive as he would have been deemed ineligible for England duty had he joined the Top 14 side.
Although his absence from the World Cup squad was heartbreaking, the hooker stated that playing in the competition could have led to an early retirement.
“It was gutting not to be involved but in the long run it was for the best because if I had played that might have been me done,” Cowan-Dickie told the Daily Express.
“I watched all the games bar one and the boys did well. If I get the chance to be involved again with the England squad that would be really good.”
The former Exeter Chiefs player made his long-awaited debut for the Sharks in their impressive 27-13 victory over Bristol Bears on Saturday.
Cowan-Dickie came off the bench and played a key role as Sale made it four victories out of five in the Premiership.
Speaking ahead of that game, the front-rower insists that he still needs to produce on the field if he is to get back into England contention.
“I need to start performing for Sale first. It’s my first game for a new club and I’m just excited to be back involved,” he said.
“I wouldn’t say I’m was nervous for the game, I’m more nervous about not performing as well as I want to for the guys.”
Saturday’s encounter was Cowan-Dickie’s first match since January due to an ankle injury and that aforementioned neck problem.
Both Sale and the hooker have taken it slowly to make sure that it is safe for him to return to action.
“We’ve looked at it carefully and decided this is the best time for me to play,” he said.
“I’m at the stage now where it’s safe for me to play and my strength is at a point where I hopefully won’t be too disadvantaged.
“It’s back to a point where my strength is plateauing. I should get more back but it’s going to take a little bit longer.”