Mike Brown had never been dropped by Eddie Jones before this autumn – and has redoubled his efforts to make sure it never happens again.
The full-back had to make the lonely drive back from Pennyhill Park every week for the entire month of November after failing to crack the Red Rose matchday 23s.
But his form for Harlequins has never been in doubt – and the 33-year-old has been a key cog in Paul Gustard’s much-improved outfit who are up to third in the league standings.
And it is not just on the pitch that Brown continues to go the extra mile in order to ensure he is on the plane to Japan this autumn.
Off the pitch the full-back – who was on the wing for all three of England’s summer Tests against South Africa – continues to put his hand in his own pocket to pay for extra sprint sessions with Margot Wells and extra physiotherapy.
“It was frustrating and disappointing this autumn, of course it was,” said Brown, speaking on behalf of Land Rover, at an off road driving event to kick off a huge year of rugby for the automotive brand and its ambassadors.
“If you are not disappointed then you probably don’t have the drive required to be an international.
“I am very driven and want to play for England. It was about going away and taking on any feedback I could get.
“I got those little bits of feedback and selection is for Eddie to decide, who am I to say if he is wrong or right, whether I am playing or not?
“The only thing I can do is accept it, which is hard and certainly takes a few days but then you get back to your club and get on with and respond in the right way, do all you can for your club who are paying you.
“I want to play well for Quins because I want them to achieve but also because I want to play well for England.
“That is why I work hard, to play for England. That is why I spend my own money on preparation, spend the hours I do away from my family.
“I know what I need to do to play well on the weekend, missing family and friends events, so whether it is a year from a World Cup or four I still want to be involved as much as I can.”
Brown was the full-back for England under Stuart Lancaster when they crashed out of their own World Cup in the pool stages.
Fast forward to 2019 and the hurt of that home disaster has not faded, but now Brown has learned to use it as motivation.
“I will always have England that I am striving towards, it is always there in your mind to have that goal. I am desperate to play for England and be part of that squad – so you need that ambition to drive you on.
“I am showing him I am trying to improve and desperate to get back into his plans. 2015 feels a long time ago now. The pain will never go away though.
“All the guys involved with that World Cup have had the pain in our minds ever since and have wanted to put that right. You remember those little things, good and bad, when you pull on an England jersey in terms of putting it right.”
Mike Brown is a Land Rover ambassador. Land Rover has a heritage in rugby, sharing and understanding the values of the sport. @LandRoverRugby