Tom Youngs: England recall 'never out of sight' for Leicester captain

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'Injury made me doubt England future'

Leicester Tigers hooker Tom Youngs refuses to give up on an England recall, despite admitting he doubted himself after undergoing back surgery.

The 29-year-old was overlooked for their triumphant Six Nations campaign after starting in the 2015 World Cup.

The surgery ruled him out of contention for the tour to Australia in June.

"You always have to keep the goal there to get back in the England side. I don't think you can ever lose sight of it," he told BBC East Midlands Today.

"Because I was injured, yes you do end up doubting yourself a little. But you soon dust yourself down, get back here, train again and then you are ticking along again.

"I've always had determination, but there is probably a bit more there now to prove people wrong and prove to myself that I'm good enough."

Youngs, capped 22 times, was not selected after Eddie Jones took over as national boss, with the Australian naming hooker Dylan Hartley as his captain.

Saracens' Jamie George and Exeter's Luke Cowan-Dickie played as replacement hookers during the triumphant summer tour to Australia.

Tom Youngs in action for Leicester
Tom Youngs made just 13 appearances in all competitions for Leicester in 2015-16 before undergoing back surgery

"They had a great summer tour, 3-0 in Australia is very special," Youngs said.

"It's never great not being selected, but there is no point moping about because you need to be training hard. I'm not one to mope, I just say 'fair enough, I understand' and then go off and work on things I need to work on.

"The back injury was probably the worst thing, because I couldn't prove anything.

"If I get the phone call great, but I'll concentrate on getting fit, playing and leading by example for the club."

Youngs said recovering from surgery was "a dark time" as Leicester's bid for European Champions Cup and Premiership glory ended at the semi-final stage of both competitions last season.

While Leicester reached the Premiership play-offs for a 12th straight season, it was the third successive time they fell short of a spot in the final.

Youngs will mark his recovery by taking over as Leicester club captain.

"It's a huge honour and a big job to do," he said.

"I want to get Leicester back to where we should be really, and where we are striving to be. We have been in three semi-finals now and lost all three.

"We need to finish in the top two this year and push for that and reach a final. That is what we are pushing for in all competitions."

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