Owen Farrell was named Aviva Premiership Player of the Month for October, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore his claims for a place in England’s squad for the Six Nations.
Farrell has been playing at centre for Saracens, with Charlie Hodgson at fly-half, and he could be the immediate answer to England’s problems in the midfield.
His pace and vision are already first class, but it’s his composure for a 20-year-old that is marking him out as a future England star. His performance in last season’s Premiership final was outstanding, and his match-winning effort at Kingsholm a few weeks ago was another feather in his cap.
A line must be drawn under England’s disastrous World Cup campaign, and now is the time at the start of the next four-year cycle to bring new blood into the squad and let them mature in the international environment together.
England has been dreadful in the last eight years in capping new players and developing them properly. The policy has been either to throw them in and give them one match to prove themselves, or to stand by the tired old heads until they get injured. A far cry from the forward-looking Australian approach.
A centre combination of Farrell and Manu Tuilagi could be exciting. It has that blend of playmaker / bulldozer abilities so embarrassingly lacking in the Noon / Tindall or even Hape / Banahan combinations that we’ve seen in recent years, and suddenly opposition defences may have to think twice about where the ball is going to be.
What do you think? Is it too soon for Farrell, or should he be involved in the 2012 Six Nations? What would be your ideal 10, 12, 13 combination?