Courtney Lawes says he feels fortunate to have been selected for the British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa after a season hit by injury.
The 32-year-old Northampton second-row has played just four times this season and not featured at all since February.
Lawes last played for England in the Six Nations, when he tore a pectoral muscle that needed surgery.
He has only played two club games since undergoing ankle surgery in October after an injury against Sale.
“I’ve played no rugby, so I was hoping my previous form would carry me over, so I’m very excited to go in and prove why I’ve been named in the squad,” he told BBC Radio Northampton.
“I didn’t get the email that apparently some people got. I had no idea.
“I guessed that I didn’t get the email either because I was nowhere near the squad or I was going to be in it, so I knew it was going to be one of the two.
“I’m lucky that I’ve got a history for Warren (Gatland) and the coaches to understand why they should pick me. I’m grateful for that and I’ll make sure I don’t let them down.”
Lawes says he feels fit again and is hoping he can use the final few games of the season to get back into the best shape possible ahead of the Lions’ training camp in Jersey before they head to South Africa.
“I should get two or three games. I’d obviously like to have more,” added Lawes, who also toured New Zealand with the Lions in 2017, when he won one cap as a replacement in the second Test.
“But luckily I’m a bit older now and I know the ropes and from my last two injuries I’ve been able to come back on good form again and carry on where I’ve left off.
“I’m still trying to take it to new levels and push myself and push my potential and my limits,” he added.