Jack Carty says his return to the Ireland set-up was partially down to him no longer worrying about a recall.
The Connacht out-half was included in Andy Farrell's 37-man Six Nations squad, and was the first of those to face the media ahead of next week's visit of Wales.
Carty's last Ireland cap came in Ireland's win over Russia at the 2019 World Cup, and he's seen the likes of Ross Byrne and fit-again Joey Carbery jump ahead of him the queue to provide back-up for Jonathan Sexton.
The 29-year old is under no illusions that 36-year old Sexton remains Farrell's go-to option in the no.10 jersey, but he's now more sanguine about his status.
"It was always the goal," Carty told OTB Sports of his Ireland recall, "I think maybe when you try to focus too heavily on a goal, you might get kind of lost in the part in-between - and I certainly did that for a period of time.
Scouting report: All action Mack Hansen ready for step up to #SixNations
Andy Friend discusses Connacht's latest Ireland call-up
🗣️ He covers the back-three and ten too
Here's the full #OTBAM chat ➡️ https://t.co/jz18YDQ9Fh pic.twitter.com/eLcrWKDT2x
— Off The Ball (@offtheball) January 28, 2022
"It was not until I stopped worrying about, and got back to what I had to do daily, weekly, monthly that I was able to actually slowly get back to where I am now.
"That being said, I'm still not where I want to be. So, I'm going to worry about the end goal when that comes about."
Carty's Connacht head coach Andy Friend has claimed that the out-half is a more complete player than he was 2-and-a-half years ago, and it's something with which he agrees.
Now better with ball-in-hand, Carty admitted, "The squareness part, I was quite lateral in the attack previously.
"It worked well for us, but I probably wasn't as much of a threat on the ball.
"And I find now, with how we're trying to play in Connacht, I'm able to bring other players into the game. Other players are seeing what I'm seeing, and there's a lot of fluidity in how we're trying to play.
"It's incredibly enjoyable, so I'm hoping to bring that to the Irish team as well."
And while Friend spoke well of Carty this week, the Athlone native returned the favour in glowing terms.
"His capacity for human empathy and emotional intelligence is massive," said Carty.
"He's a coach second, and firstly he's there... as a support staff, but it's all encompassing in how he does that.
"Fifty per cent of it would be on the field, but some of the stuff he does off the field for players... I've seen him go leaps and bounds for certain players over the years.
"A lot of that stuff wouldn't be known, and that's how Friendy likes it which speaks volumes for the type of player he is."
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