George North wants to 'pull his finger out' to impress Gatland

George North
George North has scored five tries in two appearances against Ospreys in the Champions Cup this season

George North admits he wants to "pull his finger out" to impress Wales coach Warren Gatland ahead of the Six Nations opener against England on 6 February.

Northampton back North, 22, is named in the 34-man squad for the tournament.

But he missed Wales' 12-6 win over South Africa in November, and Gatland has hinted it will be difficult to change a winning team.

"I think he's [Gatland] set things out early, which is good for me, I know where I stand," said North.

"I think everyone knows the kind of character Gatland is, he likes to call on individuals when he knows there's more to come, myself included."

The 6ft 4in winger left wing has scored 19 tries in 45 Test matches, and was a star of the British and Irish Lions' 2-1 series victory over Australia in 2013.

But reports in Wales have hinted at concerns over the former Scarlets player's work rate and defence.

George North scores against South Africa in 2010
George North made his debut for Wales as an 18-year-old against South Africa, scoring two tries.

And when asked about the back three he was likely to pick to face England, Gatland replied: "It's pretty hard to change a winning side that played in the last game, isn't it?"

Wales' last game was the win over South Africa, when Scarlets full-back Liam Williams played on the left wing with North ruled out by concussion.

North has been producing impressive displays for Northampton in the Aviva Premiership and European Champions Cup.

However, he acknowledges that his Welsh form has not been what he would like.

"I know that I've not been firing on all cylinders in a Welsh jersey which is something I'm keen to rectify this campaign," North told BBC Radio Northampton.

"The sort of atmosphere and ethos we feel in Wales is that you're only as good as the last game and no man is bigger than the jersey and if you don't play well you'll lose it, so hopefully I'll pull my finger out."

North has a tough assignment before Wales take on England, as the Saints face Racing Metro in their final European Cup Pool 5 qualifying match on Saturday, 24 January, with the teams tied on 19 points at the top of the table.

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