Sharples' relief at call-up
Gloucester wing achieves season goal with England selection
Last Updated: 11/01/12 5:38pm
Charlie Sharples has revealed his relief at being selected in the England elite player squad ahead of this year's RBS Six Nations.
The Gloucester wing just missed out on selection for the 2011 World Cup, being among a final group of players who were cut by then team manager Martin Johnson.
The 22-year-old responded with an impressive start to the domestic campaign with the Cherry and Whites, and stated that he is achieving one of main season's objectives by being recalled.
"It is relief, excitement and enjoyment, a whole mixture of feelings," Sharples said of his call-up.
"I set this as my target coming off the back of the World Cup. After being involved last summer, I'd had a taste and I wanted more.
"That was my goal - to push on and try to get back into the mix this year. I am just really happy that I have managed to do that.
"You always want to be moving upwards and progressing, and I feel that is happening with my rugby.
"I was disappointed not to go to the World Cup, but then I set my sights on trying to be involved for the Six Nations.
"It is very exciting, and I am looking forward to meeting up with everyone. It's a new sort of start."
Sharples fortunes are in contrast to his Gloucester team-mate Mike Tindall, who was left out of interim boss Stuart Lancaster's new squad in another setback in what is proving to be a testing season for the centre.
Tindall's 75-cap Test career could be over after he was axed following a World Cup that left him with a £10,000 fine for his highly-publicised off-field behaviour.
And Gloucester boss Bryan Redpath has hinted that the 33-year-old could now face a battle to hold down a regular starting spot in the midfield of his club side.
With his host of centres now back to full strength, Redpath will look from a group of two from Tindall, England Saxons' Henry Trinder, Samoa international Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu and Tim Molenaar.
Since returning from the World Cup, Tindall has featured mainly at inside centre alongside Trinder, but Redpath says he is now set to battle it out with the 22-year-old for the number 13 shirt.
Redpath said: "Thirteen is Mike's best position, rather than 12. Defensively, he is very, very good in that area and it allows Mike and Henry to battle out the 13 slot.
"We just need to get on with that. Mike is a senior player, he is here - he is not involved with any international teams - and his focus is solely here."
Gloucester gained just one elite squad call-up in the form of Sharples, although five others - Trinder, Jonny May, Freddie Burns, Nick Wood and Luke Narraway - have been named in the Saxons set-up.