Wood plays down England captaincy link
September 19, 2013
Northampton flanker Tom Wood insists he would welcome the opportunity to captain his country once again © Getty Images
Northampton flanker Tom Wood has played down reports linking him to the England captaincy for their end of year campaign but insists he would welcome the chance to lead his country again.
Wood was handed the honour of leading England to Argentina earlier this year with regular skipper - Harlequins flanker Chris Robshaw - rested from the tour. A first-ever series victory over the Pumas in Argentina certainly boosted Wood's chances of retaining the honour for England's opening autumn international against Australia on November 2 and reports have suggested head coach Stuart Lancaster is poised to confirm his re-appointment - but the player is taking nothing for granted.
"I am ambitious and of course I would love to captain England again," the 26-year-old told The Daily Telegraph. "Stuart told me at the end of the tour that I had credit in the bank in terms of captaincy as well as a player. But form and fitness will shape everything."
Wood, who was set to be Lancaster's first captain following his appointment as coach in 2011 only for injury to intervene, insists he is ready for the responsibility. "I am not naive enough to believe that it would be the same as it was in Argentina. The media circus was not a factor out there as the Lions were away in Australia. I would be under far more scrutiny, as a player as well as the front-man for the team.
"You are the face of English rugby. Your body language has to be spot on, you have to field tough questions and cope with all the stuff that goes with the job. As long as you are straight with yourself and your team-mates, I don't see a problem with that. Captaincy is a way of life, you have to set an example in everything you do. That is good leadership."
Wood has also played down the competition between him and his friend Robshaw. "A lot is made of the rivalry between Chris and me for the captaincy but we are mates, as competitive as each other and assume absolutely nothing," said Wood. "Look what happened to poor Tom Croft last week - out for the season with a knee injury after spending so long recovering last year from a neck injury. Cruel, so cruel. That's why you have to just get on with it. Whatever happens with England will happen."
The newspaper interview was titled 'Northampton Saints' Tom Wood determined to captain England in autumn Test series' - a small point that the player did not feel comfortable and he took to Twitter to air his view.
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