Tom Wood admits he wasn’t expecting an England recall.
But now he is back in the squad, the Saints skipper says he is desperate to do himself justice.
Wood was named in Eddie Jones’ 33-man group for the autumn internationals last week.
It is the first time the flanker has been picked by Jones, who took over as England boss a year ago.
And Wood said: “I wasn’t particularly anticipating a call.
“I’ve always had it in the back of my mind that I’m ambitious and a competitor and I always wanted to be back here at some point.
“I just knew that my only route back was to get my head down for Northampton.
“The door is ajar for me now, I’ve got my foot through it and I’ve got to train really well and show what I’m about.
“Hopefully I can put my best foot forward and do myself justice.”
England start their autumn international campaign against South Africa at Twickenham on November 12.
Fixtures against Fiji, Argentina and Australia will follow.
And Wood, who is in the squad as injury cover for Wasps forward James Haskell said: “Myself and James have played in the same back-row and we’ve been in competition for the same shirt at times but there’s no reason why I can’t fulfil a role in the back row.
“We were a point or two shy a couple of years back against South Africa and we’ve had some real nail-biting and tough games against them.
“I’ve never felt like they have just been too good for us, it’s about the fine margins on the day and we’re well capable of reversing that if we get things right.”