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Unwanted Goode picks up gong


England reject named European Player of the Year 2019

Despite being unwanted by England, an outstanding European season for Saracens has been capped off with Alex Goode being named EPCR European Player of the Year 2019.

The full-back joined the list of three-time tournament winners as he helped his club to its third European title in four seasons with victory over Leinster Rugby in the Heineken Champions Cup final in front of a capacity crowd at Newcastle’s St James’ Park, where he was presented with the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy.

It completed a perfect campaign for the Gallagher Premiership club, who recorded a clean sweep of wins from their nine matches in the tournament.

Yesterday Saracens Director of Rugby Mark McCall admitted the ongoing exclusion of the fullback from Eddie Jones’ England team bothers him.

“It does bother me because we want all of our players to get what they deserve. He has been so brilliant for our club for so long that sometimes it is hard to fathom,” McCall said.

“It is not in our control. What is in Alex’s control is how well he plays and most people think he is playing pretty well.

“He is superb with the younger players. When the internationals do go away he has been captaining our team. He is a really important member of the club.”

The outcome was determined by a combination of a public vote and the verdict of a panel of distinguished rugby experts. Goode saw off opposition from club colleague Mako Vunipola and he becomes the third Saracens player to win the prestigious accolade after Maro Itoje (2016) and Owen Farrell (2017). Leinster Rugby trio Sean Cronin, Tadhg Furlong and Garry Ringrose were the other shortlisted nominees.

Panel member Dimitri Yachvili said: “Alex Goode certainly deserves the EPCR European Player of the Year award. He has played every game this season with Saracens and put in a fantastic final performance.

“Despite the arrival of Liam Williams, he has kept his position at full-back as well as being flexible in various positions which is testament to the quality of the player. Goode is the true X-factor at Saracens – very comfortable technically and is extremely versatile, he really can make a game-changing difference.”

Roll of Honour
2019: Alex Goode (Saracens)
2018: Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92)
2017: Owen Farrell (Saracens)
2016:?Maro Itoje (Saracens)
2015:?Nick Abendanon (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
2014:?Steffon Armitage (RC Toulon)
2013:?Jonny Wilkinson (RC Toulon)
2012:?Rob Kearney (Leinster Rugby)
2011:?Sean O’Brien (Leinster Rugby)
2010: Ronan O’Gara (Munster Rugby) – best player of the first 15 years of European club rugby

2018/19 judging panel: Bryan Habana (Channel 4), Chris Jones?(BBC Radio 5 Live), Matthieu Lartot?(France Televisions), Emmanuel Massicard?(Midi Olympique), Brian O’Driscoll?(BT Sport), Dimitri Yachvili?(beIN SPORTS).

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England reject named European Player of the Year 2019
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