Andy Goode has questioned where Owen Farrell will fit into England’s starting team while noting that he looks to have bulked up during his injury-enforced absence.
Farrell returned to the pitch with Saracens against Bristol Bears on Saturday, having not played in a match since England’s win against Australia in November due to an ankle injury.
The England captain started at out-half for Saracens at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and lasted for 70 minutes before being replaced by Sean Maitland in his side’s narrow win against Bristol.
Former England out-half Goode was speaking on BT Sport before the game and questioned where Farrell would fit into his country’s starting team now Marcus Smith looks to have nailed down the number 10 jersey.
Andy Goode on ‘bulked up’ Owen Farrell’s England place.
“You can only really do it on the field, performing for your club once you come back from injury. He looks like he’s bulked up on top as well. He looks strong in the arms and shoulders,” Good acknowledged.
“You can see the smile on his face there, he’s happy to be back. But the questions around him being England captain, for Eddie Jones, he is his right-hand man, he is his leader, as a captain. So it’s then where do you fit him into the team?
“He plays 10 at Saracens, he’s generally played 12 for England over a lot of his career and obviously all the noise around Marcus Smith, rightly so, about how good he is and the future he has got, where does [Farrell] fit in?
“It would have been interesting to see Farrel fit, [Manu] Tuilagi fit, Henry Slade fit, Marcus Smith fit, and see what Eddie Jones would have done then. But he’s definitely so important to Eddie Jones and will probably continue as captain.”
After four months out, Owen Farrell is back for @Saracens and he’s looking strong! ?#GallagherPrem | #TheShowdown2 pic.twitter.com/7degWr8O6k
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) March 26, 2022
England struggled without their captain in the Six Nations.
There were numerous calls for Farrell to be dropped during England’s disappointing Six Nations campaign in 2021, although Eddie Jones’ side didn’t fare any better without him in this year’s championship.
Although Farrell primarily plays at out-half for his club, he often fills in at inside centre for his country and will likely continue in that position as Jones looks to develop Smith before next year’s Rugby World Cup.
England did look to be lacking in leadership in recent months, with a number of young and inexperienced players in the backline, and there’s no doubt that Farrell’s inclusion would go a long way in correcting that issue.
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