George Ford named in England squad
February 18, 2014
George Ford will go from training with the team to a place in the matchday squad © Getty Images
England boss Stuart Lancaster has named George Ford in the matchday squad ahead of Saturday's Test against Ireland at Twickenham.
Ford, who will discover on Thursday whether he is selected to play in the encounter with Lancaster set to name his final team, has taken the place of Brad Barritt. With Dan Cole sidelined, Davey Wilson is set to start at tight-head with Henry Thomas keeping his place on the bench.
"We feel that the time is right to include George Ford in the matchday squad. A full three weeks of training has allowed him the chance to really understand the way we are developing our game and this time has been crucial in order for him to feel confident and ready in a key decision making and leadership position," Lancaster said.
"We have successfully integrated and included many young players over the last two years and George is the next exciting talent to make his mark in the senior squad and we are a looking forward to see him develop over the next few months.
"Brad Barritt is obviously disappointed to miss out but he is still a key member of our squad and I am sure he will get further opportunities in the future. He hasn't had much game time since his injury and will benefit from some time with Saracens over the next two weeks."
Ford was named Man of the Match for his performance against Exeter on Saturday and has been banging on the international door all season. Cole's injury has shown the importance of giving others Test experience - something Phil Vickery highlighted in his column for ESPN - and Ford could make his full England debut against Ireland if he is given the opportunity to replace Owen Farrell.
When asked about Ford's chances of playing for England, while Andy Farrell did not give anything away, he was full of praise for his ability.
"Definitely George would be ready to play against Ireland," Farrell said. "He's comfortable in the environment. He knows all the plays and our systems and is comfortable with them. When you get that you can start being yourself and bring your game to the party."
Forwards: David Attwood, Dylan Hartley, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler, Ben Morgan, Chris Robshaw, Henry Thomas, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, David Wilson, Tom Wood, Tom Youngs.
Backs: Mike Brown, Luther Burrell, Danny Care, Lee Dickson, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Alex Goode, Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Billy Twelvetrees.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
As widely expected, Manu Tuilagi has been named in an England squad for the first time in a year after recovering from injury
Felipe Massa insists he already feels at home with his new team as he prepares for his Williams debut in Melbourne
Wayne Rooney has revealed he is hurting from seeing bitter rivals Liverpool fight it out for the Premier League while Manchester United are an afterthought in the title race
Great Britain's Jade Etherington claimed her third medal at the Winter Paralympics after winning silver in the women's visually impaired slalom
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
Ahead of his home grand prix and first race for Red Bull this weekend, Daniel Ricciardo sat down with media on the 29th floor of a Melbourne tower block to talk about his team's testing troubles, going up against a four-time champion and hooking up his si
SANZAR's expansion plans don't address the question of how you jazz up Super Rugby to make it the best rugby tournament in the world, Craig Dowd writes
Mark Hammett and the Hurricanes are struggling, but still he deserves more time to impart his philosophy on the Wellington franchise, Craig Dowd writes
Lewis Hamilton may not have come close to matching his 2008 title-winning season in recent years, but the regulations shake-up and the powerful Mercedes engine could see him sweep all before him in Formula One this season
Manchester United are in negotiations with Sporting Lisbon over the signing of defensive midfielder William Carvalho, according a report in the Daily Mail
Juan Mata wants to play in the No.10 role for Manchester United and does not see himself as the winger manager David Moyes is using him as
George Groves has called for foreign officials to be appointed for his rematch against Carl Froch at Wembley Stadium on May 31
Carl Froch's rematch with George Groves at Wembley Stadium on May 31 has sold 60,000 tickets in less than an hour
Manchester United are the latest Premier League club to track Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata and sources have told ESPN FC that they are seriously considering making a bid for the player this summer
The last time the British and Irish Lions toured Down Under, they lost out 2-1 to Australia in the series despite winning the first Test.
The events of last Saturday night in Las Vegas should be educational for all concerned with Froch-Groves II at Wembley, writes Steve Bunce
Joga Bonito's gone out of the window in Brazil. That's the view of Uruguay captain Diego Lugano, handily expressed ahead of their Confederations Cup semi-final showdown in Belo Horizonte.
After each round of Premier League fixtures, ESPN FC brings you its Team of the Weekend. Selected by our panel of experts, 11 of Saturday's star performers, along with a manager, are carefully chosen. Do you agree or disagree?
The start of the new Premier League season is still almost two months away but you can still bet on who will relegated come May 2014.