The Gloucester wing narrowly missed out on World Cup selection last summer, being among a final group of players cut from contention by then England boss Martin Johnson.
Sharples, though, features in the squad named today by interim England coach Stuart Lancaster that will prepare for this season's Six Nations Championship.
"It is relief, excitement and enjoyment - a whole mixture of feelings," Sharples said.
"I set this as a target coming off the back of the World Cup. I had had a taste, and I wanted more. It was my goal to push on and get back in the mix, and I am really happy that I have managed to do that.
"You always want to be progressing, and I feel that is happening with my rugby."
Sharples is the only Gloucester player to have made the elite squad, although five others - Jonny May, Henry Trinder, Freddie Burns, Nick Wood and Luke Narraway are in the 32-man England Saxons group.
A notable but expected omission from the senior England group is Gloucester centre Mike Tindall, whose off-field behaviour at the World Cup commanded more attention than his performances on the pitch.
Tindall has yet to make any announcement about his international future, although there has been speculation that he could now step down from the Test arena.
"Mike is a senior player here, and his focus is here," said Gloucester head coach Bryan Redpath.
Redpath, meanwhile, confirmed that full-back Olly Morgan - an outsider for England recognition - will not play again this season.
Morgan faces knee surgery after he was carried off during last weekend's Aviva Premiership defeat at Worcester.
"It is quite a severe injury," Redpath added.
"He will have surgery next week, and he will be out for six months. He has damaged his knee pretty badly."
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