Owen Farrell He lost his England place to friend Owen Farrell but George Ford refuses to feel sorry for himself

Owen Farrell I be crazy about extensions, because they are helpful.

George Ford has always been happy enough with the arrangement. But there was one time when he wanted dad to pick up. What he got after a bit of ringing was the other guy. He got coach.

Normally, that is fine. But when you have just been dropped to the bench one game into a World Cup on home soil, you need a parent to stick a plaster on. None of those in Mike Ford’s bag, though.

‘I remember how he reacted when I told him I wasn’t playing,’ says Ford. ‘Straight off he said to me, “There is no point sulking, just be ready. If they need you off the bench, or if something happens in the week, your job is to make absolutely sure you are ready to go”.

George Ford opened up on what it was like to be dropped at the last World Cup 

Ford suffered heartbreak on home soil as England lost to Wales and Australia

‘I thought, “Are you not going to give me sympathy?” But it was the best thing he could have said. It was a coach’s answer more than a dad’s answer. After a few minutes I realised the worst thing he could have said would have been, “What a load of rubbish”, and all that.’

There’s a smile at a memory and a situation that feels as relevant today as it did four years ago. Then and now, the challenge for Ford is to find a way to get the 10 shirt off one of his closest mates in rugby.

For the first two and a half years of this World Cup cycle, the fly-half spot was back with Ford, with Owen Farrell in the centre. For the past 16 months it has been Farrell’s and Ford has largely been on the bench. With the big kick-off in Japan fast approaching, it will be awfully hard for the 26-year-old to win it back in time.

It is a tricky situation. And yet going by the truism that a squad can only be as strong as it is allowed to be by its most disgruntled elements, Eddie Jones has little to worry about from Ford. Model pro, reliable, call him what you will.

The fly-h

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