Six Nations 2016: John Barclay 'still has a lot to offer' Scotland

By Bryn PalmerBBC Sport
John Barclay in action during Scotland's World Cup warm-up Test against Italy in August 2015
Barclay won the last of his 45 caps in a World Cup warm-up Test against Italy
Six Nations: Scotland v England
Date: Saturday, February 6 Venue: Murrayfield Stadium Kick-off: 16.50 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC One, BBC Radio Five Live, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Sport website

Scotland flanker John Barclay thought his Test career might be over after missing out on their World Cup squad.

The Scarlets back-rower, 29, admits he was 'slightly surprised' to be called up for the Six Nations but is desperate to play for his country again.

Barclay, capped 45 times, is in contention for a place in the match-day 23 to face England on Saturday.

"I am still massively motivated and still feel I have a lot to offer at this level," he said.

"My hopes are pretty high. I am certainly not coming up here hoping to just hold bags for the next six to eight weeks. I am delighted to be here and I am desperate to play."

'Vern is a pretty fair guy'

The popular Barclay played in two of Scotland's World Cup warm-up matches last summer, his first caps since 2013.

But he was omitted from the final World Cup squad in favour of John Hardie - recently arrived from New Zealand - while another adopted Kiwi, Blair Cowan, was summoned as a second specialist open-side during the group stages.

Asked if he thought that signalled the end of his Test career, which began against New Zealand in 2007, Barclay said: "Yeh, I thought so, because I hadn't been in it for a while before the World Cup.

Vern Cotter oversees Scotland training on Monday
Cotter will confirm his team to face England on Thursday

"But I think Vern is a pretty fair guy. If you are playing well, you generally get picked. When he phoned me I was slightly surprised but obviously very happy.

"I didn't even know when the squad was being announced because I haven't put too much emphasis on it. I try to do my own thing really, and if you do that well enough, you will get picked.

"But the fact I am more philosophical about things doesn't mean I am not gutted when I am not playing for Scotland, and that I am not hugely motivated when I do play."

'England can't re-invent the wheel in a week'

With Cotter picking both Hardie and Cowan in Scotland's last Test, their World Cup quarter-final defeat against Australia, Barclay's versatility - he has played in all three back-row positions for the Scarlets this season - could serve him well as Scotland finalise their 23 to play England.

The Scots have not beaten England in their last eight meetings since 2008, but optimism is high north of the border that run could come to an end on Saturday, with the visitors starting a new era under head coach Eddie Jones.

Barclay does not expect a radically different approach from England, however.

"I believe there is only a finite number of ways you can change things, and they have picked very similar players by the looks of it," he added.

"They will play to their strengths, they have always been strong up front. They can't re-invent the wheel in a week. We are just trying to focus on ourselves and what we can do to put pressure on them and test their mind-set."