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England
Parent pressure no issue for Lancaster
ESPN Staff
January 11, 2014
Andy Farrell's son being in the team will be no issue says Stuart Lancaster © Getty Images
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Despite Owen Farrell and George Ford's fathers being high profile coaches, Stuart Lancaster insists he will not be swayed by parental influences when picking England's fly-half.

Pushy parent syndrome will not be an issue for Lancaster despite Mike Ford being the head coach at Bath and Owen's father Andy being a part of the England coaching staff.

Lancaster said those family ties will help, not hinder, England's cause. "Those links have always been there from the outset anyway," Lancaster said. "The ultimate decision-maker on selection is me: I take Andy [Farrell] and Mike Catt's opinions on board, but I make the final call.

"Owen and George won't have any issues with all of that either, they have grown up with it. They are also mates who have come through our age-group system together, played alongside each other before and get along very well.

"They will compete extremely hard with each other, and that's what you would expect. That streak will allow them to drive each other on, as it has previously."

Lancaster dropped Leicester captain Toby Flood to accelerate 20-year-old Ford's international career. Flood will join Toulouse in the summer, spelling the end of his 60-cap international career with England not selecting overseas-based players.

Unfazed by losing his most experienced squad member, Lancaster backed Ford and Gloucester's Freddie Burns to heap the pressure on first-choice playmaker Farrell.

"There are 20 months and 20 games to go to the World Cup in this country," said Lancaster. "I'd be very surprised during the course of those 20 games Owen Farrell plays every minute of every game.

"He's unlikely to avoid injury entirely, and he'll be put under pressure by the other players. It's going to be close, the competition will be fierce."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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