Aviva Premiership
Haskell committed to England
ESPNscrum Staff
July 5, 2011
England flanker James Haskell, England v Scotland, Six Nations, Twickenham, London, England, March 13, 2011
Haskell maintains his move to Japan is not financially motivated and is geared toward him cementing his place in the England backrow © Getty Images

James Haskell has revealed he sought England boss Martin Johnson's advice before agreeing to play in Japan following the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

Haskell announced on Sunday that he would be moving to Tokyo before hopefully going on to secure a Super Rugby contract in 2012. He will then return to his former side London Wasps for the 2012-13 Premiership season. Haskell, who started every match for England during the Six Nations, insists he is not turning his back on the national side and instead is hoping the experience abroad will improve his chances of holding down a back-row berth upon his return.

"I've always had a dialogue with Martin, that's the beauty of this squad," Haskell said, talking to TalkSPORT. "From the exterior he can come across as quite a severe character but his ability to engage with players is one of the reasons why this team is going so well.

"I had conversations with him through all the stages and said it might appear I'm turning my back on England but you can see I'm geared to trying to improve and I want to hold that shirt down. Everything I do is for England, even if sometimes that gets lost in translation. All of it is about making sure I put that England shirt on as many times in my career as I can."

Haskell experienced wide-spread criticism in 2009 when he announced his move to Top 14 side Stade Francais but Haskell, who was named in England's 45-man training squad for the World Cup, claims the move to Japan was not financially motivated.

"Everything I've done in this process of coming back to Wasps is based around getting back to England. I needed to find a club, I looked at Japan and realised I could go there and be a more experienced player which would give me more responsibility and help me raise my game," he added.

"There are expectations when an international player turns up in Japan - you have to deliver. I've got to stay on my mettle because if I have ambitions to play in Super 15 and then go back to Wasps, it can't be about going on a jolly to eat sushi."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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