Dylan Hartley says he thought he had played his last game for England because of his disciplinary problems.
The Northampton hooker has missed 54 weeks through bans but is set to be named England's new captain on Monday.
England head coach Eddie Jones wants 29-year-old Hartley to replace Chris Robshaw for the Six Nations campaign.
Hartley said he would be on "egg shells around the new management", but that he was aiming to "impress, work hard and try to get in that team".
Hartley was dropped from the World Cup after being banned for a headbutt.
He added: "For me, missing out on the World Cup, I thought I might have played my last game for England.
"Just getting back there, the chance to play in the white shirt again, at Twickenham, that's what it means to me."
|April 2007: Banned for 26 weeks for gouging Wasps forwards James Haskell and Jonny O'Connor|
|March 2012: Banned for eight weeks for biting Ireland's Stephen Ferris in the Six Nations|
|December 2012: Banned for two weeks for striking Ulster's Rory Best|
|May 2013: Banned for 11 weeks for verbal abuse of a match official - costs him a place on the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia|
|December 2014: Banned for three weeks for elbowing Leicester's Matt Smith|
|May 2015: Banned for four weeks for headbutting Saracens' Jamie George - costs him a place in England's World Cup training squad|
Wilkinson to carry out 'informal' coaching
Hartley has been sidelined with concussion and a rib injury but will feature for Northampton against Scarlets in the European Champions Cup on Saturday.
The England squad will gather for the first time under Jones at a training camp after this weekend's games.
Harlequins flanker Robshaw, 29, has been captain for the past four years, but came in for heavy criticism during England's poor World Cup campaign.
Meanwhile, Jones has confirmed World Cup winner Jonny Wilkinson and ex-Australia flanker George Smith will carry out "informal" coaching roles with England during the Six Nations.
"They will come in and help the players at various times," he said.
"George will definitely come in next Wednesday to help the back rowers. But it's very informal. He's not a coach as such, he's doing it out of friendship.
"He's one of the best defence breakdown forwards in the world. He will help our aspiring number sevens."