England coach Stuart Lancaster says Danny Cipriani could make an international return should his impressive form for Sale continue.

Cipriani's move to the Melbourne Rebels and subsequent disciplinary problems appeared likely to extinguish any hope of the 24 year old reigniting his international prospects.

However, an off-season switch to Sale has sparked an upturn in his fortunes back in his homeland, as he evoked memories of his brilliance at fly-half with an inspired display in the victory over Cardiff Blues in the Sharks' Heineken Cup opener.

Despite Cipriani having yet to permanently secure the No.10 shirt ahead of Nick Macleod, England remain without a permanent half-back, and Lancaster says the former Wasps man has every chance to earning a first cap since for four years should his impressive form continue.

Danny Cipriani
Cipriani produced an inspired display to down Cardiff but his appearance will need to be more regular.

"His challenge is to start and play well for Sale. If he does that on a consistent basis he'll be considered like everyone else," Lancaster toldBBC Radio Five Live.

"I'm lucky, I coached Danny a lot before he went to Australia and he worked with me in the Saxons," Lancaster added.

"When I spoke to him out in Australia he said the priority is to come back and play well in the Premiership. It was great that he came on and made a difference [on Sunday] and great for Sale to get that win."

A contribution of a bad ankle injury his days with Wasps, an uncertain relationship with former England coach Martin Johnson and a spate of disciplinary problems during his career down-under has restricted his international opportunities since his last cap four years ago.

Many custodians of the England No.1 shirt have failed to make it their own, and assistant coach Mike Catt says Cipriani faces competition if he wishes to make a belated international return.

"It's not just Danny Cipriani," Catt warned.

"There's George Ford, Freddie Burns, Toby Flood - these guys are playing consistently well at the moment so it is a case of them making sure they put themselves in the limelight continually and impress us as a group of coaches but also do what is right for their team."

England face Fiji, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand in four tests starting next month in preparation for their Six Nations campaign in the New Year.