herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Foden to keep pushing for England role

Ben Foden is keen to do his talking on the pitch after being given a dressing down by England manager Martin Johnson for speaking out of turn.

Last November the Northampton fullback said he was "livid" at being overlooked for the autumn internationals, and he criticised the England management for a lack of feedback.

Foden's patience was tested again this week after Delon Armitage was retained in the England team for Saturday's clash with Scotland, despite question marks over his form.

But the 24-year-old succeeded in biting his tongue, helped by the fact that England's attack coach Brian Smith had assured him that a first Test start is not far away.

"After the autumn internationals I made the mistake of venting my frustrations," Foden recalled.

"Johnno phoned me up and said, 'If you've got a comment, talk to us about it'. So that is one thing I have been able to do. Obviously I am very disappointed I didn't get the call but Brian Smith told me it was very close and that I am pushing Delon to the limits. That is all I needed to hear because it shows they are thinking about me."

Foden enjoyed an eye-catching 30-minute cameo against Ireland after Armitage went off with damaged ribs, which had been expected to rule him out of the Murrayfield trip.

Even when Armitage proved his fitness he thought he'd be dropped.

But after a "marathon" selection meeting, Johnson and the England management team ultimately decided to stick by Armitage and hold Foden back to make an impact off the bench.

Foden converted from scrum-half to fullback less than three seasons ago and his attacking instincts are perfectly suited for the position.

But there are question marks over his defence and his ability under the high-ball -- one of Armitage's strengths.

"I need to work on my defensive positioning," said Foden.

"The kind of player I want to be is someone who is exciting, someone like Jason Robinson."

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