Vickery eyes England recall
Prop keen to play in a fourth World Cup
Last Updated: 17/08/10 7:35pm
Vickery: skipper in 2007
Former England skipper Phil Vickery insists he will never turn down the chance to play for his country.
"Of course I want to be involved again. I never want to retire," Vickery said. "If you are playing well enough and Martin Johnson rings you up with the opportunity to play for England, I will never say 'sorry, I have retired from international rugby'. That doesn't wash with me."
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The 34-year-old Wasps prop is fit again after undergoing a fourth neck operation last season, but was left out of Martin Johnson's 32-man senior England squad.
Vickery, who captained England to the 2007 Rugby World Cup final, has told Johnson that for as long as he is playing he will always be available for selection.
"Of course I want to be involved again. I never want to retire," Vickery said. "If you are playing well enough and Martin Johnson rings you up with the opportunity to play for England, I will never say 'sorry, I have retired from international rugby'. That doesn't wash with me.
"We had a good chat before he announced his squad. I think he is happy with what he has got there.
"I didn't get any indication in the tone of the conversation that it's all over (for me).
"I am looking forward to the start of the season and hopefully playing well and showing consistency so when old monobrow looks at his squad again (before the autumn internationals) I might be in consideration.
"He might say he is happy with what he has got. You have got to accept that. I have always said, I never want to be one of those blokes who becomes bitter and twisted about it. As long as people are honest I can deal with it."
Dan Cole made the England tight-head jersey his own on England's summer tour, while David Wilson, Paul Doran-Jones and the returning Matt Stevens will all be competing for World Cup selection.
Vickery's long-term sights are set on playing in a fourth tournament, having enjoyed one of the best experiences of his career as England defied the odds to reach the 2007 World Cup final.
"The World Cup is such a fantastic thing to be part of," he added. "I enjoyed the last one 10 times more than the one before - the whole journey, the players and everything that happened was just the best seven weeks of my life. Something I shall never forget.
"It was so well planned in 2003 - we were winning all the time. We went into 2007 without much going for us. The guys worked so hard and pulled together.
"There were some great characters and it was a dream really, just a shame we couldn't finish it off.
"Of course you would love to be involved in the World Cup but if not then you just accept it.
"I have had an amazing England career. I have 72 caps more than I ever dreamed of. I have played in three World Cups, won one, captained England to the final in another.
"I have played over the world with the best players and against the best players. I was part of some of the most memorable rugby matches. I have been on two Lions tour. I have no regrets."