George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
James Anderson has dismissed the idea that he is on the brink of retirement and instead reiterated his desire to play on to the Ashes and beyond.
Anderson, 38 years old and the highest wicket-taker among seam bowlers in the history of Test cricket, endured what he termed "a bad game" at Emirates Old Trafford. But although he admitted the "opportunity to retire" could be taken out of his hands by the selectors if he didn't bowl better, he insisted he was determined to "work hard to try to put things right" and believed he "still has quite a few more Tests left in me".
And, despite rising concerns about his ability to recover between spells of bowling - a concern fuelled by the fact he has yet to take a second-innings wicket this summer - Anderson insisted he hoped to retain his place in the England side for the second Test starting on Thursday and to be in Australia in November 2021 for another Ashes campaign.
"It's been a frustrating week for me personally," Anderson said. "I've not bowled very well and felt out of rhythm. For the first time in probably 10 years I got a little bit emotional on the field. I got a bit frustrated and let it get to me a little bit. It reminded me of when I first started playing, when you get frustrated and a little bit angry, you try and bowl quicker and quicker and it doesn't help
"Yes, I absolutely want to play in the Ashes. But it's not like that's a focus of mine. I want to play as long as I possibly can. I'm still hungry to play the game.
"If I keep bowling the way I did this week, the opportunity to retire will be taken out of my hands. It will be a selection issue. I think the frustration for me this week was the sort of whispers that go around after one bad game. I don't think that's really fair.
"Everyone has a bad game every now and then. That's how I look at it. I'll work hard to try and put things right if I get a chance next week if I get the chance."
By most standards, Anderson's bowling in the first Test really wasn't so bad. He accepts, however, he let a dropped catch in the second innings get to him, while the "whispers" about his potential retirement also played on his mind.
"I didn't bowl that badly," he said. "But I feel like, in the second innings in particular, a chance went down and I let it get to me. I'm normally pretty good at [thinking] if you've created a chance then that's a positive thing. It's obviously frustrating when a catch goes down but if you're creating chances, you must be doing something right.
"But I let it get to me a bit. I got a bit too emotional; a bit too frustrated. I just felt I wasn't bowling to the standards I set myself.
"I just don't want every time I have a bad game for there to be whispers going round that I'm going to pack in. For me it's about trying to find a way of dealing with that, dealing with the outside noise. I've done that really well in my career, but it's a little bit different now.
"I did feel that pressure a little bit. Whether it's pressure of expectation or the pressure of the match situation, I feel I've dealt with it pretty well in my career, but this week I probably didn't deal with it that well. That's something I need to look at and personally work on. The minute you start thinking about the whispers or things like that it can affect you. I've got to throw myself into the match situation.
"Coming into the game I felt good. But during it there was something off; the rhythm wasn't quite there. As I went through the game I just tried to start bowling quicker and run in faster. I bowled a couple of no-balls, which isn't like me really. It felt like I was trying a bit too hard. I was chatting to [head coach and former bowling coach] Chris Silverwood and [Graeme] Welch [the bowling consultant for this series] about some basics and making sure my action is where I want it to be. I'll keep my fingers crossed that the captain and coach keep faith with me for the next game.
"On the fitness side I work really hard on that and will continue to. I felt great in these last three games. The body feels good and I've felt stronger as the games have gone on. I was running in quite hard and to come through that at a good intensity is pleasing.
"The work ethic thing is not an issue for me. I'll keep doing the hard work in the nets and the gym to try and keep improving.
"I'll just try to work hard and hope I get the nod for the next game. Hopefully I can show people I've still got what it takes to play Test cricket."
Although Anderson is poised on the brink of a couple of personal milestones - he needs 10 more wickets to reach 600 in Tests and seven more Tests to become England's most capped player - he dismissed the notion that either were a motivation for him.
"Six hundred wickets is not a huge thing for me, really," he said. "The other milestones I've gone past haven't been, either. I want to be contributing to this team; that's my sole focus. I want to be bowling well and contributing to England winning games of cricket. That's been my focus throughout my career. I think that focus has served me well.
"If I get 600 wickets then great; if I don't, then I'm happy with what I've got. I know I can perform better than I did this week. I want to keep getting better and keep helping England win games of cricket.
"I still can't quite believe the number [of Tests] that's next to my name when the teams go up on the TV. 154 does sound like quite a lot of games. But I feel like I've still got quite a few more left in me.
The last 18 months has been frustrating injury-wise. I want to get back to enjoying my cricket - I didn't enjoy bowling this week - but I want to remember why I play the game, enjoy doing what I do and play as long as I can.
"If I can go past Alastair Cook's record [of 161 Test caps] it will probably be the one thing I've got up on him."