Sale Sharks’ Paterson focuses on club rugby… even if England call-up looms

Sale Sharks’ Michael Paterson has insisted his attention is on turning the club’s fortunes around and not on whether he will be selected to represent England.

Injuries to Geoff Parling and Ed Slater mean that New Zealand born Paterson could be picked by Stuart Lancaster ahead of the Autumn internationals, with the squad announcement due later this week.

But the former Cardiff Blues player has insisted that being selected for the national side is something he hasn’t given much thought about as he looks to take the Sharks up the Premiership table.

“No not really, obviously you have got to play well for your club and at the moment that’s where my mind set is,” he told MM when asked whether it had crossed his mind.

“You got to get the wins and get recognised and obviously it has been a frustrating start for the Sale lads here and we just want to get back on the horse.

“You can only do your best for your club and that’s where I’m thinking at the moment.”

The 29-year-old represented New Zealand at Under-21 level and was hotly tipped to earn a place in the All Blacks squad before his move to Cardiff.

Three years playing for the Blues made him eligible to play for Wales, and an English grandfather meant he had the chance to play for England.

And having been selected as part of the England squad which faced the Barbarians earlier this year, Paterson could be in with a shot of facing his former international side on November 8 at Twickenham.

But the second-row forward refused to contemplate what it would be like playing against his former international team.

“You would have to think about that when it happened, obviously it’s a long way away, a lot of water to go under the bridge before that happens, but I saw they got beaten the other day,” he said.

“The All Blacks are number one for a reason, England are getting better and better so they will be looking to improve on the way in which they played the first two tests.

“They got shown up in that third-test so they will want to put a marker out especially before the World Cup that they mean business and go forward.

“Obviously the Springboks showed a fortnight ago they are beatable and obviously other teams will take that into consideration when they are playing the All Blacks.”

England succumbed to three defeats in their test series against the All Blacks, losing 20-15, 28-27 and 36-13 respectively.

However, the All Blacks suffered a narrow 27-25 defeat earlier this month to South Africa, ending their 22-game unbeaten run.

And although Paterson may not be called up this time to Lancaster’s squad and face his former international team, with the Rugby World Cup looming just around the corner it may be that he will get the chance to play on the biggest stage of all.

“Again it’s too far away to think about it, you’ve just got to play well and play consistently and do your job for the club and if that makes you get recognised elsewhere so be it,” he added.

“But like I say you just have to do your main job for the club and that’s my main goal at the moment.”

Main image courtesy of Sale Sharks via YouTube, with thanks.

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