England captain Owen Farrell praises Marcus Smith as a ‘massive talent’ who can open a game … Saracens star enjoys new partnership for fall tryouts despite coveting No. 10 jersey
- Marcus Smith is destined to wear England’s number 10 jersey in the fall trials
- Harlequin prodigy to line up with Owen Farrell in England’s inner center
- England captain Farrell admitted his recent form had been poor
If Owen Farrell feels threatened by Marcus Smith’s rapid rise, he concealed it well, and the England captain praised the country’s new playmaker sensation.
What Sportsmail Revealed earlier this month, Smith is destined to wear the No. 10 jersey in fall tests against Tonga, Australia and South Africa, with Farrell leading the national team from inside the center.
The Harlequin prodigy propelled his club to Premiership title glory late last season before making his international debut and earning a call-up for the Lions tour of South Africa.
Harlequin prodigy Marcus Smith is destined to wear England’s number 10 jersey at the fall trials
Farrell has been impressed by Smith, despite the fact that his good friend George Ford was excluded from the England team as a direct result of the 22-year-old’s appearance.
“He’s obviously a great talent and a very exciting player,” said Farrell, from a temporary training base in Jersey. “ He is someone who can unlock a game on his own, but also has a bright eye for making a team work.
‘We have worked together before. He’s been to camps before, when he was a little younger. I shared a room with him in the past and it was good to get to know him a little better over the summer.
‘He is a brilliant boy, not just a very talented player, but a good student of the game. That sounds a bit cliché, but it really bothers him to improve and understand the game a bit more, and he loves to chat about rugby. That made it easy for me to get on with it!
Owen Farrell (right) and Smith have shared a room in the past during England training camps.
You seem confident because you have done the job. You understand the game and you know exactly what you want to get out of it. Speak meaningfully. That helps when it comes to playing the position that he does. He’s doing really well. ‘
Farrell is well known for his fierce commitment and ultra-competitive streak. In that sense, he evidently sees Smith as some kind of soul mate.
“The passion for the game oozes from him,” he said. “He loves to score; he loves to do it well for his team. Obviously, he’s really enjoying playing right now. He wears his heart on his sleeve. That is a huge advantage: the immense passion he has for the game. ”
At least publicly, there is no indication that Farrell’s ego is affected by the prospect of Smith occupying the number 10 that he would covet for himself.
“Whatever suits the group best, I’ll be happy,” he said, when asked about operating in the inner center, as he has so often done alongside Ford. He also downplayed the possibility of the new creative partnership taking a long time to click.
Farrell admitted that his recent form had been lacking after criticism from Eddie Jones.
“It can work, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” Farrell said. “Marcus loves talking about rugby and trying to understand the game a little better. If I can help you do that, I would love to.
Last month, when he assembled an expanded team of 45 for a short training camp, Jones argued that Farrell’s recent form had been lacking. There was no complaint from the boss when it was presented to him yesterday.
“I agree with him,” he said. ‘He could have played better. I agree that there are parts of my game that I want to go back to and do more, which perhaps I have done well in the past. I came back this summer and couldn’t wait to get back to playing at the club and back on the pitch. I’m excited to see what we have in front of us now with this England team. ‘
Having a stellar reputation hasn’t saved Saracen teammates Billy and Mako Vunipola from being thrown into test exile, at least temporarily. So Farrell was concerned about his own position?
“I never thought someone was impossible to leave,” he said. You always have to work hard to be on this team. That will never be different. ‘