Harlequins’ Ugo Monye refusing to give up on England dream
Playing for England "is still in the forefront of my mind," says Harlequins winger Ugo Monye as he eyes international return
The writing might seem to be on the wall after being left out of the 2012 Six Nations, but if Stuart Lancaster indicated Ugo Monye’s England future is over the winger is not taking the hint.
Monye was included in Martin Johnson’s 45-man Rugby World Cup but his last appearance for England came in the 2010 Six Nations.
Yet Monye’s desire to play for his country burns as bright as it ever has done and with his club side Harlequins flying high at the top of the Aviva Premiership, the 28-year-old is hopeful of a recall to the scene of his greatest triumph: South Africa.
It was there that Monye’s star was in the ascendancy with a 70m interception try in the third Test of the Lions tour and he admits he would be devastated not to play against the Springboks again.
“Playing for England is not in the background for me – it is in the forefront of my mind. But you will only achieve that by playing well and keep on playing hard for your team. I am certainly focused on that and I would love to go on that tour to South Africa,” said Monye.
“I think I could be a valuable member of the squad, but I think that is a question for Stuart to answer and not myself.
“But I would be pretty gutted not to make the squad to be fair. It would be so disappointing. Playing for your country is the biggest honour and you want to be able to do that with every chance you get.
“There are only a few games to go now. We are in the business end of the season and this is where it all counts. We have never finished top before but it would be a massive milestone if we could.
“I think Stuart Lancaster picks his squad in about a month, so I am focusing on wanting to perform well for Harlequins, and I guess playing for England will be the by-product of that.”
Monye made his England debut in against the Pacific Islanders in 2008, starting the rest of the autumn internationals against Australia, South Africa and New Zealand.
A year later, he scored his first international try against Scotland at Twickenham in the Six Nations but although he was overlooked for this year’s tournament, Monye believes his prior work with Lancaster with the Saxons will keep his name in the frame.
“I don’t think one man can change the way a team plays, although I do think my style of play would suit his plans for England. I think my style of rugby – pace and power – certainly fits the modern game and fits what England want to do,” said Monye.
“I have worked with Stuart Lancaster in the Saxons and I think, as a player, he respects me and likes me. But unfortunately I don’t select the team so I will just keep my head down and just keep trying to play well.
“I will just need to work on my all-round game. You are always looking to improve, whether it be attack, defence, or both. I work hard on my game every day and always try to think how I can do things differently. I don’t think there is one specific thing to improve on though.”
© Sportsbeat 2012