AARON Shingler knows that he can’t waste any opportunity to put the heat on Dragons flanker Aaron Wainwright in the battle for places in Wales’ World Cup squad.

The Scarlets blindside is being put through his paces as a member of Warren Gatland’s 42-strong training squad ahead of Japan 2019.

The 31-year-old has not played since suffering a knee injury in the Guinness PRO14 final defeat to Leinster in May, 2018, a blow that came just as he was establishing himself in the Test set-up.

That left him on the sidelines as Wales won a Six Nations grand slam with bright prospect Wainwright backing up the trio of Josh Navidi, Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty.

The quartet are in pole position to make Gatland’s final 31 for the World Cup along with world-class Lions number eight Taulupe Faletau, who is fit again after breaking his right arm twice last season.

Shingler and Scarlets openside James Davies are scrapping for spots and with the management set to name strong sides in the Tests before the final cut – after the England double-header and the first game against Ireland – there isn’t much time to impress.

“Unfortunately, competition is very fierce and I might only get one opportunity,” said Shingler. “In training, I have to impress every day, work hard every day and keep my fingers crossed that I get to go.”

Mobile Shingler, whose lineout expertise gives Gatland food for thought, was a leading figure in the Scarlets’ 2017 title triumph.

His exploits led to him winning nine caps to take his total to 17 until his injury nightmare and the lengthy road to recovery.

“I’d say I’m nearly where I want to be,” said Shingler, whose last cap was against France in Cardiff in March, 2018. “For eight months, I was questioning whether the leg would be good enough. Luckily enough it is. So I’m very happy to just be able to train.

“A couple of more weeks training with Wales and I’ll hopefully get an opportunity. If that opportunity comes, then I feel like I’ll be ready.

“I want to play for Wales and the Scarlets, so I just keep pushing.”

The severity of the injury left Shingler, a talented cricketer who was on Glamorgan’s books before turning to professional rugby, fearing retirement.

“It was massively difficult. Up until the eight-month mark, I was thinking that I wasn’t going to come back,” he added.

“I just couldn’t function daily. I’d have one good session and then the next day I wouldn’t be able to train.

“When I came into camp, I was a little bit concerned with how I was going to cope but I’m feeling really fit and strong at the moment.”

Wales travel to Twickenham on Sunday, August 11 and host England in Cardiff the following Saturday.

Gatland’s men then head to Turkey for a hot-weather training camp and return to face Ireland at Principality Stadium. The head coach then names his final squad before a final Test in Dublin.

Wales kick off their World Cup campaign against Georgia in Toyota on Monday, September 23 (kick-off 11.15am) and then face Australia, Fiji and Uruguay.