Vickery looks to regain England slot

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The Independent Online

Phil Vickery yesterday maintained that he will never give up on playing for England. The 34-year-old Wasps prop is fit again after undergoing a fourth neck operation last season but he 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 his country. "Of course I want to be involved again. I never want to retire," Vickery said.

"We [Johnson and Vickery] 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."

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.

Wasps' director of rugby, Tony Hanks, announced yesterday that Dom Waldouck, who has signed a new three-year deal, and Rob Webber will take over the vice-captaincy of the club from Vickery and Serge Betsen.

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