I am a massive fan of the way Stuart Lancaster has looked to develop his squad and I am delighted that George Ford has been called into the EPS.
However, there is no point in picking these youngsters if you are not going to give them any game time and I reall hope Ford gets some during the Six Nations
We know what Owen Farrell brings to the party - he is a Jonny Wilkinson-type character, where his defence is outstanding and his kicking percentage is very high. Those percentages will win you games but will they win you a World Cup?
England know what their strengths are but at the moment there is a limitation to the way they play and I am hoping that Lancaster is looking to fix that.
England can produce enough ball to cause some serious damage and I have no problem with the forwards.
I would have liked to have seen Luke Wallace given a chance; my opinion is that Matt Kvesic has gone off the boil a little and I would like to see Lancaster look at a back-up for Chris Robshaw.
If you give players like May and Watson space and ball then they will scare anyone.
Quotes of the week
Injury has robbed Lancaster of using Christian Wade and Marland Yarde on the wing for now, but it gives him a chance to look at the likes of Jonny May and Anthony Watson on the wings, and why not?
We know what Chris Ashton can do, so let's have a look at a May, a Watson and a Jack Nowell. If you give these sorts of players space and ball then they will scare anyone.
However, if you are going to pick these speedsters then it is all about getting the ball too them and really attacking the line. Ford is that sort of player and we need to see if he can take his club form into the international arena.
It boils down to how do you want to play the game?
New Zealand are the number one side in the world by some margin at the moment and one of their key strengths is that their skill levels are so, so good. I believe England have the players who can play the same way but they have got to start playing that way now.
With a massive tour to New Zealand coming up in the summer I don't want England to worry about where they are going to finish in the Six Nations, and instead they should use it as a sounding board for these youngsters who have come up.
If they lose a few games along the way, then so be it. The reward is that you have enhanced a few players and that will pay dividends heading to New Zealand.
That three-Test tour to New Zealand is going to be absolutely massive in terms of England's development. It is going to be twice, three times as big as any Six Nations.
I have been out there and I know what sort of pressure you are under and I want these England players to step up out there, not a fleeting win at home in the Six Nations.
So let's blood these youngsters in the February, give them some experience and get them ready for the New Zealand tour.
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Darren Brady says...
Balance is the key word. Winning breeds confidence whereas losing dents it! Give the youngsters a platform then let them loose. Then if they perform well, give their head. The team will fare far better in NZ with a balanced team with the youngsters getting a chance, which will happen anyway in the first test as some of the players would have played in the premiership final.
Posted 20:48 14th January 2014
Matt Elkin says...
I agree 100% and would love to see the youngsters have a run out on the international stage. However, rugby being the professional game that it is now and being results driven, if England are to loose a few games in the Six Nations would the public, management and even the players not automatically right off there hopes of beating New Zealand and going on to the World Cup?
Posted 09:41 10th January 2014
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