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VIDEO – Goode: Competition for places will make us better

22 October 2013

  • Full back set for tussle with Mike Brown and Ben Foden
  • “Competition for places has just been amplified by the summer tour” – Goode

Alex Goode says fierce competition for places is getting the very best out of Stuart Lancaster’s England squad and is wholly determined to fight for the full back slot to face Australia in the opening QBE International at Twickenham on November 2.

Alex Goode

Photo: Getty Images

After making his debut as a replacement in the second Test against South Africa last summer, Goode strung together 10 consecutive starts at full back up until the comprehensive defeat 30-3 defeat to Wales that marked the end of the RBS 6 Nations campaign.

But reconstructive shoulder surgery then ruled him out of the summer tour to South America, denying the 25 year-old a chance to be involved in a historic series win over Argentina.

Now, while proud of his role in a year of “building” – featuring wins over both New Zealand and France – Goode insists that a tussle for the number 15 shirt with Mike Brown and Ben Foden is the foremost concern.

“From my experience, last year was great up until the last game,” said the Saracens man shortly after arriving in Leeds for England’s week-long camp. “We put ourselves in a great position after building in the autumn and beating New Zealand. That felt great.

Ben Foden

Photo: Getty Images

“Then to do so well in the first few games of the Six Nations was fantastic. Unfortunately, the Wales game was hugely disappointing. We know we’re a team that is heading the right direction. We’ve got a great squad and the competition for places has just been amplified by the summer tour.

“That’s bringing the best out of everyone, as we’ve seen in the Premiership. Now we can push to get some great results.

“I wouldn’t say I'm a senior player now,” he added. “Perhaps the longer you are in an environment the more confident you feel and you can perhaps talk about the game and suggest things a bit more. As far as I’m concerned, though, it’s about trying to win a slot in the team.

Alex Goode

Photo: Getty Images

“The full back position is very competitive and there are two great players in there with me, so I’ll have to win a place.”

Pinpointing this pre-autumn training week as essential for fine-tuning and “getting everyone on the right page” in a different environment – England head back to their customary Pennyhill Park base after this weekend – Goode was also buoyed by the form English clubs showed this weekend in the Heineken Cup.

Although Saracens were beaten narrowly by Toulouse at Wembley to bring an end to their unbeaten start to the season, Leicester and Northampton Saints both recorded victories, with Harlequins bravely claiming a losing bonus point away to Clermont.

“If English teams are winning all the time, it’s great for the national team,” Goode added. “Northampton and Leicester had great results at the weekend and Quins did very well at Clermont. It’s a good time for us.”