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James Haskell never intended to be a role model but accepts his duty

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Haskell: Being suspended for England 'the hardest thing' (3:08)

James Haskell explains his side of the red card incident that will see him miss England's opening two games at the Six Nations. (3:08)

Wasps and England backrow James Haskell acknowledges that while he never aspired to be a role model, he understands that it is part of being an athlete in modern sport.

Haskell was shown a red card for a high tackle on Jamie Roberts but the 2017 British & Irish Lions tourist insisted his only thought was for the health of Roberts, and later in taking responsibility for his actions.

"My primary concern was that Jamie was still down there," Haskell told ESPN. On the sideline he waited for the former Welsh international to make sure he was alright. Haskell was cited and he accepted a four-week ban which rules him out of the opening two Six Nations games against Italy and Wales.

"I thought it was important after, to put my hand up. People say I am a role model and we as sport people are role models. I never intended to be one but I appreciate people do watch my channel, do watch things.

"I said I made a mistake and expected to deal with the punishment of it. To be honest, the feelings were more of his concern and that Wasps lost. That is what mattered. Myself, and what was going to happen to me, I was always going to get cited, it was going to take care of itself."

Haskell was omitted by Eddie Jones in the squad announcement that saw eight uncapped players named and the 75-time Test capped forward admitted it was hard to take.

"It is really tough," added Haskell. " I think not being being part of England is the hardest thing. Especially because the chances are few and far between. I was obviously left out before and I thought that was the end of it. I kind of fought my way back in.

Will I get that opportunity? I don't know. I believe I will keep working to push to do that. Whether the coaches want me, whether I perform well enough, whether the lands perform, whether I am fit? Who knows."