Hannah England could not hide her delight after producing her best performance on the international stage at the World Athletics final in Greece.

England, who was left out of the British team for the World Championships in Berlin, showed what the selectors had been missing with a fantastic sprint finish giving her second place in the 1,500m, and earning a cool $20,000 (about £12,000) in the process.

The 22-year-old Oxford City athlete, who was also overlooked for the British squad for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, proved that she was perfectly at home against world-class opposition, while fellow Brit, Lisa Dobriskey, the world silver medallist, trailed home in eighth.

England said: “I’m so, so happy. I was hoping to come in the top eight, so this is amazing.

“After not making Berlin, I just got my head down and decided that this would be my World Championships.

“I'm so pleased, though I'm really, really surprised.”

The former member of Kelly Holmes’ coaching group managed to stay on the inside throughout before producing a spectacular sprint finish to snatch second.

Less than a second separated the first six runners, with England finishing only 0.58 seconds behind Kenyan Nancy Jebet Lagat in a time of 4mins 14.05secs.

England said of her World Championship omission: “I wasn't annoyed so much, just frustrated.

“It felt as if I had done a whole year’s training just to end up in the same position I did last year.”

England’s runner-up spot earned her easily her biggest-ever payday, and she said the money she won would be spent on a new car.

However, that may not quite make up for the disappointment of missing out on a major championship for the second successive year.

Her snub was particularly hard to take after fellow Brit Stephanie Twell failed to make it past the first round in Berlin, though England denied harbouring any bitterness at her treatment by the selectors.

“I was just very frustrated that I had put in a whole year's training just to end up in the situation as I did the previous year, when I missed out on the Olympics,”she said.

“I felt very sorry for Steph. It's such a stressful environment and it can happen to anyone.”