Ben Foden is widely regarded as one of the best up-and-coming players in the country, and is one of England’s brightest young talents.
Height: 1.83m (6′ 0”)
Weight: 85kg (13st 5 lbs)
Date of Birth: 22nd July 1985
Birthplace: Chester, England
His rugby career to date has been plagued by an inconsistent positioning selection, and although he had decided that the 9 shirt should be his, he has been making more of an impact at full-back.
Sale Sharks coach Philippe Saint-André saw him primarily as a full-back, commenting after a strong performance from Foden against Newcastle Falcons, “If he’s not a full-back I’ll eat my French beret; at full-back for England there is not a lot of competition. I think he deserves to go on tour with England – at full-back.”
Despite these ringing words of endorsement from his coach, Foden’s desire to play scrum-half saw him sign for Northampton Saints on the basis of a promise to play him at his preferred position; a promise that Sale Sharks could not give him considering his fantastic performances at full-back, the presence of England international scrum-half Richard Wigglesworth and the arrival of Welsh international Dwayne Peel.
That promise didn’t actually materialise, and Foden has made the full-back jersey his own at Franklin’s Gardens, regularly combining with wing Chris Ashton to give the Saints a real attacking threat.
Foden’s reputation as a hugely talented rugby player is not in doubt and certainly has not hindered his development. He made 45 appearances for Sale Sharks between 2004 and the end of the 2007-08 season and this total was hindered by the small matter of representing the England Sevens team for the past 2 seasons.
However, despite the debate surrounding his best position, and his time away with England, Foden still managed to rack up European appearances in the Heineken Cup and the European Challenge Cup (which he helped Sale win in 2005), as well as securing a Premiership winners medal in the 2005-06 season.
Despite Foden’s bit part role at Sale, he still secured a place in the England Saxons Churchill Cup touring squad to America and Canada in the summer of 2008, and he has since graduated to the full England Elite Player Squad, making his first start against France in the 2010 Six Nations.