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The Saracens verdict on the 2021 form of England skipper Farrell

By Liam Heagney

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Saracens boss Mark McCall has given his assessment of how England skipper Owen Farrell has played throughout 2021. Eddie Jones spoke in September about how the 30-year-old hadn’t “been at his best over the last period of time” while Farrell himself admitted this week that he “could have played better”. 

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His club coach McCall has now weighed in on the debate, suggesting people are too keen to focus on the negatives rather than the positives about Farrell, the Saracens skipper who is this week in Jersey preparing with England for their three-game November series.    

Asked for his thoughts on why Farrell hasn’t fired on all cylinders throughout 2021, Saracens boss McCall replied: “It’s probably a very, very long answer to that question which we probably don’t have enough time for but everyone knows Owen didn’t play a lot of rugby last season. 

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“That was probably the main problem going into the Six Nations and Owen would accept the first game against Scotland wasn’t his best, but I thought he played well after that in the Six Nations and people concentrated on the negatives rather than the positives.

“When he came back and played for us in the Championship he was magnificent and he led the team brilliantly at that level, and on the Lions tour he never really got going because he trained at twelve most of the time and didn’t get that much game time. But if you have watched our games this season, everyone would agree that he has been very influential when playing really well actually, all parts of his game and he goes into the autumn campaign in great form.”

That current improved form contrasts with Jones’ comments last month about his England Test team skipper. “All I am worried about is getting Owen Farrell back to his best,” he said. “He hasn’t been at his best over the last period of time but I am convinced that I can get him back to his best… there is no reason why he won’t be captain.”

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Jones was proven right as Farrell went into England camp as their skipper and he spoke on Tuesday about the enthusiasm he now has for the 2021/21 season following his previous inconsistency. “I’d agree I could have played better, I’d agree there were parts of my game that I want to get back to and do more of. I came back this summer and couldn’t wait to get stuck into the games that were in front of us. 

“I couldn’t wait to get back playing for the club, couldn’t wait to enjoy being out there on the field again and that is what I am at the minute and I am excited to see what is in front of us now with this England team. 

It is not the fact of not clicking, there is stuff that I can do more of that I have done well in the past or to get into my game as well. That is the same every year, that is the same every time you have a look at yourself at the end of the year and want to improve and this year is no different. The big thing is that you have got to perform in what is in front of you.”

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The Saracens verdict on the 2021 form of England skipper Farrell

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