Ford could leave Tigers - Healey
September 30, 2012
George Ford has been tipped as a future England No.10 © PA Photos
England hopeful George Ford may be forced to leave Leicester in search of first-team rugby, according to former Tigers scrum-half Austin Healey.
The 19-year-old fly-half made a major impact at the latter stages of last season as he guided Leicester to victory in the Anglo-Welsh Cup before playing a prominent part in the Tigers progress to the Aviva Premiership final.
The teenager was even touted for a place on England's tour of South Africa over the summer but he remained at home to work on his conditioning ahead of the new season. Despite his burgeoning reputation, Ford remains behind Toby Flood in the pecking order a Leicester with the England fly-half having started their first five matches in the Premiership.
And Healey believes Ford, who faces a similar dilemma to Owen Farrell and Charlie Hodgson at Saracens, is good enough to command automatic choice at virtually any other club in the Premiership.
"There are Premiership clubs crying out for a quality fly-half - Sale and Northampton spring to mind - and it amazes me you have the four best English fly-halves playing for just two clubs," he told the Rugby Paper.
"I'm all for a bit of competition and beating your opposite number but with players of the calibre of Charlie Hodgson, Owen Farrell, George Ford and Toby Flood the all need to be playing every week.
"Put George Ford in Northampton and they would be able to kick on from just being challengers to being a massive force. As a fly-half, more so than any other position, you need to be playing week-in, week-out and building up 15-20 games on the bounce with a break every now and the.
"If you drop out you miss out on patterns within the team and lose some of the understanding you have with other players. Even one week, lots of small things change on the field that you'll have to relearn. There's a lot of intricacies and even if your timing is off by a miniscule amount it can make a big difference. "
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham