Danny Care will take stock before deciding on his international future after contributing to an encouraging Guinness Six Nations for England.

Care won his 101st cap as a replacement in Saturday’s agonising defeat by France in Lyon that saw a long-range penalty by Thomas Ramos seize victory for Les Bleus in the final minute.

The 37-year-old provided cover for Alex Mitchell throughout the championship and deputised in the starting XV when England’s first-choice scrum-half was injured for the defeat by Scotland in round three.

Now one of the most exciting players in English rugby is facing a crossroads moment as he nears the end of his Test career while yet to agree a new contract for next season with Harlequins.

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“It’s 101 and still not out at the moment! I’m going to go home and assess and speak to the family. I’ve not made any big decisions yet,” Care said.

“But I’ve loved being a part of this team. I genuinely have. The past year yes, but particularly the past seven weeks in this Six Nations have been some of my favourite times in an England shirt.

“The result against Ireland was an unbelievable feeling, I thought we were going to do it again and maybe surpass it against France.

“The icing on the cake would have been another win but it wasn’t to be. But I’ve never been prouder to wear an England shirt.”

Care’s international career appeared to be over following a disagreement with Eddie Jones in 2018, but his irrepressible form for Harlequins resulted in a recall under the Australian and he has remained in favour under Steve Borthwick.

“If it had all finished a couple of years ago it would have been a bit meh, a bit rubbish, so I’m delighted with how the last year has gone,” he said.

“I owe Steve and the coaching staff an awful lot for giving me another opportunity for doing what I love doing the best.

“I’ve had an amazing time and this team is going to go in one direction, I’m sure of it. Whether I’m a part of that or not, I’ll be the happiest person to be a part of it or watching it.”

England finished only third in the tournament yet will embark on their summer tour to Japan and New Zealand with a sense of excitement having toppled champions Ireland and pushed France so close – all while playing pulsating rugby.

“The aim going into this tournament was to win the whole thing. Obviously we haven’t done that but the team has taken huge strides in the right direction of where it wants to go,” Care said.

“I’ve got no doubt that this team is going to hit some massive heights. If I were an England supporter right now, I’d be really excited by what I’m seeing.

“Everyone better watch out because when this team is on fire, they’ll be very hard to stop.”