There has been a great deal of debate about who England’s inside centre at the World Cup should be given the lack of stand-out options. Currently the general opinion seems to be divided between Brad Barritt and Luther Burrell, with names like Kyle Eastmond and Henry Slade thrown in for good measure.
Whilst I can see the relative merits of a player like Barritt, or the potential of Slade, for me, the most viable options for this World Cup is actually Owen Farrell. Here are the _ reasons why I think he could be the right man for the 12 jersey later this year (and possibly beyond)…
Not only is Farrell now one of England’s most seasoned internationals, he has also toured as part of the Lions in 2013. This means he has the experience of playing against some of the best players in the world on a regular basis, and within a highly competitive environment. He is also already well accustomed to England’s patterns and set plays.
Not only is Farrell a world class goal kicker, he also regularly displays his talent at kicking the ball from hand. During Saracens Premiership semi and final, Farrell was key in much of their good work, with his kicking from hand a particular highlight as he kept them playing in the right areas of the pitch, and set up several great opportunities.
Although Farrell’s distribution may not be quite as strong as Ford’s, he is still a solid passer of the ball, and could be the right man to get the ball out to the likes of Joseph and Watson who can do the damage out wide. It means England can line-up either side of the breakdown and feel comfortable going right or left with Ford and Farrell on the pitch.
Many people forget that Ford and Farrell began their England careers playing alongside each other, with Farrell slotting into the 12 shirt during the Junior World Championships. It’s therefore easy to see how the two are already accustomed to working with one another, and shouldn’t find it too difficult to rekindle the partnership.
Farrell has the size, and defensive commitment on his size which perfectly compliments the exciting, if slightly lightweight combination of Ford and Joseph. He isn’t afraid of making big hits, and is a key proponent of Saracens impressive line speed which has been so effective over the years, his organisation is also top class.
For several years now, Farrell has been touted as a future England captain, such is his attitude out on the pitch. He leads by example and ensures his voice is heard, even when amongst players of much greater experience. He is also often described as having a big game temperament, whilst retaining the fire needed at this level.
7.Lack of viable alternatives
Whilst Brad Barritt would help ensure England remained defensively solid, it’s hard to see him complimenting a back line that requires the ball getting out to Joseph at 13 and onto the wingers. Luther Burrell and Billy Twelvetrees meanwhile have both failed to take their opportunities whilst Slade and Eastmond possible lack the experience.
Do you think Farrell is the right man to play at 12 for England during the World Cup?