Leicester Tigers 16-12 Northampton Saints, Aviva Premiership
Cockerill: Youngs is ready for England
November 3, 2012
Ben Youngs played 80 minutes for Leicester © Getty Images
Youngs came through 80 minutes of the Tigers' 16-12 win over Northampton on Saturday in what was his fourth appearance of the season. Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care appears to be in pole position for the No.9 spot ahead of next weekend's match as England boss Stuart Lancaster opted to release Youngs back for club duty and retained the Quins half-back.
And after seeing Youngs in action, Cockerill believes he will be in the England mix for the first of their four November Tests. "You would think Ben will be in the (England) 23 next weekend," Cockerill said. "Danny Care has been very good, so that will be Stuart's choice. Stuart (Lancaster) trusted us to manage Ben, and he had 80 minutes under his belt today and is ready to go in the Test arena."
Youngs was partnered by George Ford at half-back with the fly-half profiting from England retaining Toby Flood. Ford endured a torrid time with the boot and missed five penalties but Cockerill, who admitted the 19-year-old had endured an "off day", was reluctant to criticise his performance.
"George is a very good player," said Cockerill. "Today, he had an off day with the boot, but he did some very good things with ball in hand.
"He will learn from it. He has had some pretty good days as well - in a semi-final and a final last season - and that is part and parcel of young people developing. I will put my arm around him and encourage him, and we will carry on. People want him to play all the time or go somewhere else to play, but we have to develop George and look after him.
"He will play enough rugby here along with Toby Flood. If you want to play for England, play here in front of Toby and then you will be in the England team. We all know young players are going to make mistakes, and George made mistakes today.
"He is a young lad developing, and you are going to have these days with young players. He will play next week, and he will battle through and work hard, which he always does."
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