By Neale Harvey
Long-serving Quins scrum-half Danny Care says he hopes to discover in the next month whether he still has a future at the club he loves.
Care, 31, is out of contract next summer but, having just racked up his 250th appearance since joining from Leeds in 2006, the livewire England pivot is locked in talks over a new deal that could potentially see him finish his career at the Stoop.
Care told The Rugby Paper: “My contract’s up and I’m not sure exactly what’s happening yet.
“Hopefully, something can be sorted in the next month or so. If the deal’s right for everyone that could be an option (ending my career here) but at the moment we’re just waiting to see what happens.”
Care is in no hurry to leave and hints that the arrival of Paul Gustard as head of rugby will play a big part in any decision to extend his stay.
He explained: “I get on very well with Gussy, who’s a brilliant bloke and a great coach.
“When he got the job here I was delighted for him and the club that we were getting someone who is perfect for the job.
“I loved working with him for England, and getting to work with him at Harlequins is brilliant now, too – hopefully, long may that continue.”
Care added: “To make my 250th appearance against Saracens last week was special and to run out with my son, Blake, made it doubly incredible.
“One thing I always say to boys, and try to pass down to others, is that Quins is such a special club that you’re lucky to play here just once. So, to play 250 times is something I’m massively proud of and I had to hold back tears at one point.
“I had no idea what Harlequins would be like when I first came down, but I fell in love with the club straight away. I loved the style we still play and although there have been lows as well as many highs, it’s an amazing club to represent.”
Meanwhile, fully refreshed after a first full summer off in five years, Care is desperate to add to his 81 caps as a critical autumn looms for England.
Care said: “It was Eddie’s decision to rest me for the South Africa tour and he thought it was the best thing with it being such a massive World Cup year ahead.
“I was gutted because I wanted to go there and help England, but Eddie said he needed me firing and he knows what he’s talking about.
“He said I wouldn’t have a chance like that for a while to have a proper break to get myself as mentally and physically good as I could be – and that’s exactly what we’ve done.
“It was a hard pre-season at Quins under Gussy, but I was also able to spend a proper amount of time with my family. I’ve come into this season absolutely firing for Quins and there are big games coming for England I want to be part of.”
Care’s last three Tests ended in defeats against Scotland, France and Ireland during the Six Nations.
As he looks to fight off continuing challenges from Ben Youngs, Dan Robson and Ben Spencer, Care knows England must make a statement.
“It’s important we get back to winning ways,” he said. “In South Africa and New Zealand, we’re playing against some of the best and toughest teams in the world and it certainly won’t be easy.
“We’re going to have to perform well and it will take a lot of hard work, but if you look at our squad – not just those at the recent training camp, but those who weren’t there as well – you’d say, ‘Wow, there’s some talent in this country’.”
Care added: “Personally, I feel I can offer an awful lot now and I’m dying to get back in an England shirt. It’s a huge 12 months coming up, culminating in the World Cup, and I’m dying to be a big part of it all and be on that plane to Japan.”