George Ford determined to fight Marcus Smith for England No 10 shirt after overcoming injury to make blistering start to season – as Leicester star insists he’s only just reaching his prime

  • George Ford has been in imperious form to guide Leicester to top of Premiership 
  • He missed out on the last England training camp as Marcus Smith was called up
  • But the experienced Ford is not ready to stand aside for the Harlequins rookie
  • ‘I want to play well for Leicester and everything will take care of itself,’ he said


George Ford is ready to fight for his England No 10 shirt by proving that he is approaching his playmaker prime.

The Leicester fly-half has recovered from a nagging Achilles problem which had hampered him last season and started the season in imperious form to guide the Tigers to the top of the Premiership table with three successive wins. 

But in his absence, Marcus Smith made a Red Rose debut in the summer and went on to play for the Lions, before being called up for an England training camp last week, while Ford was omitted.

George Ford has been in sparkling form with Leicester Tigers since recovering from injury

George Ford has been in sparkling form with Leicester Tigers since recovering from injury

Ford is now determined to fight for his England No 10 shirt and to show he is in his prime

Ford is now determined to fight for his England No 10 shirt and to show he is in his prime

Amid a loud clamour for head coach Eddie Jones to build his back line around Smith, the experienced Ford is not ready to just stand aside for the Harlequins rookie. He has already amassed 77 caps and played in a World Cup Final but he is adamant that his personal best is yet to come.

‘I’m 28 so I’m hopefully not too old, yet!’ he joked. ‘I feel in a great place. For any England camp, you want to be involved so I was obviously disappointed, but I’m loving my rugby at Leicester. I’ve had a good, consistent run of games and I’m part of a team that’s going okay, so I’m really enjoying it.

‘My goal is to keep on improving. As a 10, you have seen it many times before, where guys at the top of the game are coming to the best years of their careers in and around 30, because they have got that experience and learnt so many things along the way to be one of the world’s top-class 10s.

There has been clamour for England to build their back line around Marcus Smith

There has been clamour for England to build their back line around Marcus Smith

Ford was left out of England's last training camp but is determined to make a comeback

Ford was left out of England’s last training camp but is determined to make a comeback

‘I am excited about it. I am 28 and have played a fair bit of rugby up to this point but I am very confident that I can improve and get better.’ 

Asked if he is delivering the sort of performances which Jones has demanded of him, Ford added: ‘Only Eddie can answer that. The three games have had a balance between being able to run and attack more in the first two and then kick and manage a bit more in the last one. 

‘I have been working hard on my defence so I feel in a good place. I want to play well for Leicester and everything beyond that will take care of itself.’

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