- Foden relishing return to England duty
- Full back excited by Lancaster's new-look squad
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Exciting is the word used time and again by Ben Foden as the England full back discusses meeting up with the national side and the "clean slate" they have to work from ahead of this season’s RBS 6 Nations.
The Northampton Saints No.15 retained his place in much changed England Senior Elite Player squad as Interim Head Coach Stuart Lancaster put his mark on a youthful looking 32-man group.
And with 15 new players set to assemble for the pre-tournament training camp at West Park Leeds, Foden is relishing the chance to take in Lancaster’s new ideas and start again in an England shirt.
Speaking at a Guinness event this week, the 26-year-old said: “It’s like a clean slate and with the things that have occurred over the last couple of months – and the world cup not quite going to plan – it’s an exciting time.
“Stuart Lancaster has been pretty open in the media about where he wants to take the side and the reasons for selecting young, talented players. So it is very exciting and I look forward to the beginning of camp.
“It’s going to be a hard working week, getting used to everyone and seeing a lot of fresh faces. New tactics, new moves and being in a new environment will only add to that excitement.”
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Lancaster has named eight Northampton Saints – a quarter of the total – in his squad, including uncapped back rowers Calum Clark and Phil Dowson and scrum half Lee Dickson.
Foden, who has 22-Test caps, speaks highly of the trio and is backing them to make an impact in an England shirt on the back of their stellar form at Franklin’s Gardens.
He added: “Lee is vital to us at Northampton and when he’s missing you can see it affects our side and hopefully he’ll bring that to England. He’s like the energiser bunny and never runs out of energy, he loves quick ball, chats all the way through the game. He works so hard at the club and is now reaping the rewards.
“The same can be said of Calum – when you look at stats after the game he hits something like 47 rucks a game, twice as many as any other flanker and that just shows his work rate and his willingness to put his body on the line.
“That’s been picked up on and we know that’s what is takes to be an international player, that little bit of edge to take you to the dark places where it separates the men from the boys.
“Phil has got this opportunity later on in his career but he’ll be willing to prove to Stuart Lancaster that he can mix it with all these young guys who’ve been put in as well. For as Northampton he’s massive in terms of leadership and motivation.”