In light of England’s unprecedented collapse against Scotland on Saturday, and indeed their Six Nations as a whole, captain Owen Farrell has come under a lot of criticism from fans on social media for his leadership.
England let a staggering 31 point lead slip against Scotland in the final round of the Championship to draw 38-38, as well as losing a 10-3 lead against Wales earlier on in the Championship. In both of those performances, Farrell was heavily criticised by fans for losing control of the game.
The Saracen was taken off by Jones against Scotland, but many are saying that he lacks the leadership skills to help England out of these situations that they have found themselves in too often. There has been a noticeable drop in England’s performance and discipline at times when they have encountered pressure this Championship, which is alarming some.
The 27-year-old has been deputising for the injured Dylan Hartley this Championship, and many fans are calling for the Northampton hooker to return to his role, to allow Farrell to focus on his game.
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In response to the growing concern amongst fans on Twitter, former England captain Will Carling has said that there is no need to panic, and lesson will be learned.
Agree with Sir CW – not the time/ no need to panic. England lost their last games in 1999,2000,2001 & lost in 2002. So plenty of lessons learnt. Became Champions! Yes this team need to learn, & quickly, but do believe it is possible. The array of talent is not in doubt!!
— Will Carling (@willcarling) March 17, 2019
Carling has been working with England as a leadership consultant, and having captained England 59 times, this is an area with which he has a lot of experience.
However, there was a backlash following these comments from many fans, with England’s lack of leadership on the field being highlighted again. Carling responded once again, saying he has “no doubt that [Farrell] will become outstanding as a leader”.
This must be a joke reply? Farrell has no RL background? Of course! And the man is a superb rugby player & is developing into a bloody good captain. We all need time, experience and painful experiences to grow & develop – I have no doubt he will become outstanding as a leader
— Will Carling (@willcarling) March 18, 2019
While there are some that are critical of Farrell’s ability, the majority feel that he is still a great player, particularly as he was being touted as the form player on the planet at the beginning of the Championship. However, it is clear that many feel the burden of being England’s playmaker, kicker and captain is weighing too heavily on the 70-cap international.
This looks like it will be a critical topic amongst England fans leading up to the World Cup in the Autumn, but Carling has shown that Farrell still has the backing from the England camp.
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