Carbery: 'I'll always be happy at Leinster'
Joey Carberry is aware of the talk about him being shipped to another province, but being aware of it and entertaining it are two different matters.
This month, he was slated to play some rugby at out-half in the Christmas derbies but a thunderous Fijian tackle put paid to those ambitions and now he is in a race to prove his fitness before the Six Nations.
He hopes to have recovered from his broken arm in time for Leinster's trip to Montpellier, but after two months out the 22-year-old could struggle to find a place in the squad given how well his rivals have gone in his absence.
Carbery is a rare talent, but any signs of rust will work against him when Rob Kearney and Jordan Larmour are going so well at full-back and Johnny Sexton and Ross Byrne - who starts against Ulster this evening - are dovetailing well at out-half.
Which brings us back to the conundrum which had Eddie O'Sullivan suggesting he hit the road in pursuit of game-time. Based on November selection, he is Ireland's second-choice out-half but as of yet he has not started in the position for the province this season.
With Christian Leali'ifano off next month, there's a glaring vacancy at Ulster but there is no prospect of Carbery filling it.
His future, as he sees it, is at Leinster. "Well, it was two people talking in the media really, wasn't it?" he said of the transfer talk.
Listen "It wasn't anything important. I didn't think much of it to be honest because the main people who really have proper opinions are the ones I listen to.
"Like, I'm happy in Leinster, I always will be happy in Leinster and things aren't that bad that I'm not starting (any games) or anything when I'm not injured.
"I haven't paid too much attention to it."
Carbery brims with confidence on the pitch and he appears to be sure-footed off it as he deals with an ever-increasing profile.
Thrust into the spotlight last season, he refuses to have his head turned off the field despite an increasing number of opinions about what's best for his career.
"You hear a good bit about it but you can't pay attention to it," he explained of his approach
"It's tough to say but you have to block it out and think about the things that matter like getting picked, getting back training and doing the basics.
"When someone talks about you, you are always interested but the main thing is you always have to listen to the main people like Leo (Cullen), Joe (Schmidt) and Stuart (Lancaster). You try and block the rest out."
Another voice he listens to on a daily basis is that of Johnny Sexton's.
The comparison between Carbery and Beauden Barrett is clear and he hopes to learn from the Ireland out-half in the same way as the current world-leader served his apprenticeship under Dan Carter. He met the All Black legend in November, but believes Sexton is every bit as good.
"It's all about developing your game and he (Barrett) developed his behind Dan Carter who was one of the best people to learn from," he said.
"I'm learning from Johnny so that is similar, I suppose. I'm just trying to learn day by day. They (Sexton and Carter) are similar players but even in the way that Johnny takes responsibility.
"That's one thing I can learn from him. He just controls the team and talks to players in such a way that they listen. It's a big part of playing ten. The two of them have huge control in how they want the game to be played.
"If Johnny wasn't there and there's no one competing with you, you'd go maybe a bit lethargic and maybe not push yourself to work harder so I see with Johnny there obviously you can learn from him and you can always strive and want to beat him and try and compete with him.
"Without having him there for us it's... you can kind of become just content with where you are but you won't improve if you don't.
"His (kicking) technique is almost the same every time which is something I have to bring into my game and have that consistency of the strike.
"Just watching him train and kick and the little tips he can give me like kicking into the wind and stuff is a massive help. He's obviously kicked at the highest level so little thoughts and how to keep yourself composed mentally." Joey Carbery was promoting Life Style Sports' latest fan competition. Fans attending the next four Leinster home games should keep an eye out for the Life Style Sports stamped seats