Delon Armitage is more thankful than most of the members of England's World Cup squad after fearing he'd "messed up" his Test career having twice been banned this year.
Now the London Irish fullback is determined to vindicate England manager Martin Johnson's faith by proving he can keep his cool during the World Cup in New Zealand.
The 27-year-old, recalled for England's warm-up matches against Wales and Ireland, missed the entire Six Nations after being banned for pushing an anti-doping official.
And if that wasn't bad enough, he also sat out England's match against the Barbarians in May following another suspension, this time for striking an opponent in a Premiership match.
Both offences were avoidable yet Johnson decided to bring Armitage, a fine all-round fullback, in from the cold.
But the player himself, speaking at England's training base before the squad headed to New Zealand, feared he'd scuppered his World Cup hopes.
"I thought I'd messed up my chances of playing with those bans," Armitage told reporters. "I can't make that decision on how Johnno was going to go.
"I just wanted to put some pressure on him when he was making the decision on who to select."
And Armitage has certainly made it clear Ben Foden won't have things all his own way in the race for England's No.15 shirt after a warm-up series that culminated in Armitage coming off the bench to score a try in the morale-boosting 20-9 win over Ireland in Dublin last weekend.
However, opponents are bound to try to wind the 22-times capped Armitage up, although the player insists his on-field discipline for England has never been an issue.
"I think that's all rubbish. My discipline for England, you guys can go back and look, I've never had a problem.
"I know I want to play for England and I don't want to let the side or anyone down. That's not been a problem and it won't be a problem for me."
He added: "Every game you play rugby, you're going to have little needles and stuff.
"It's how you control that, it's how you react. You just grow up and get on with it."
England, bidding to reach a third successive World Cup final, begin their Pool campaign against Argentina on September 10 and Armitage is desperate to nail down a starting spot, be it at fullback or on the wing where the current incumbents are Chris Ashton and Mark Cueto.
"I've got that hunger back," said Armitage. "I've got an opportunity to go out to the big show so now everything is focused on getting selected for that Argentina game.
"I just want to play, regardless of whether it's on the wing or at fullback.
"Every time I get an opportunity, I'm going to try to put pressure on the coaches by playing well.
"If I have to sit on the bench or in the stands then so be it. We need to get that first game win and then move on."
Meanwhile Armitage is looking forward to the challenge of going up against the world's leading back-three players, be they Australia duo Kurtley Beale and James O'Connor or New Zealand's Mils Muliaina.
"You want to be the best in the world in your position," he said. "You look at those guys and think they're amazing.
"You watch Kurtley and the way he plays week in and week out and guys like O'Connor and Mils Muliaina.
"If you get an opportunity to play against them, that's what you want.
"To play against the best players in the world and to have that opportunity would be massive."
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