Danny Care has revealed that not having to worry about being selected for England has allowed him to produce his best rugby in years.
The Harlequins scrum-half last played for England against Japan in November 2018 and at the age of 34, a return to international rugby does not look likely for Care.
Care was speaking to the Daily Mail about his impressive recent form with Harlequins and revealed that the absence of the pressure that comes with competing for international selection has allowed him to expand his game.
Danny Care is just out there having fun! 😅
A casual drop goal for @Harlequins! 🃏
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) March 27, 2021
“I haven’t got an England coach to worry about. I’m not thinking about wrong decisions and not getting picked for England,” Care explained.
“That ship has sailed but it has probably given me the licence to back myself and enjoy it a lot more because there’s less pressure on me to perform.
“I’ve got to perform for the coaches at Quins but I’m not being compared against every other scrum-half for a spot in the England team.
“I haven’t got a national coach breathing down my neck. I’ve not been in for three years now, so all I am trying to do is help Harlequins win. That is my goal.”
‘Playing for the Lions would be a dream come true.’
Despite Care’s absence from international rugby, there has been some talk that the veteran scrum-half could tour South Africa with the British and Irish Lions this summer.
While the Englishman has never been selected for the Lions before, selection at scrum-half is arguably the most open position in Warren Gatland’s squad, as no scrum-half truly stood out during the Six Nations.
Care admitted that he thinks it is unlikely that Gatland will select him this summer, but said he is flattered that people believe he is in contention for a spot in the Lions squad.
“It has been really nice to hear people throw my name into contention for the Lions,” Care said.
“I’ve not been part of it before and I know how special it is, so to be talked about in that mix is amazing, but I don’t know if the coaches are talking about me at all.
“I didn’t play in the Six Nations so it is going to be very tough to force a hand there, but I’m desperate to play as well as I can for Quins and, if someone in the Lions likes what they see, then it would be a dream come true.”