Owen Farrell can unlock Marcus Smith's true potential for England, says Martin Gleeson

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Owen Farrell and Marcus Smith playing for England - Owen Farrell can unlock Marcus Smith's true potential for England, says Martin Gleeson - GETTY IMAGES
Owen Farrell and Marcus Smith playing for England - Owen Farrell can unlock Marcus Smith's true potential for England, says Martin Gleeson - GETTY IMAGES

Owen Farrell can help unlock Marcus Smith’s true potential in an England shirt, assistant coach Martin Gleeson believes after holding attack-focused meetings with the two No 10s.

The trio have used Eddie Jones’s three-day training camp this week to hold focused group meetings with other team leaders to help evolve England’s attack, with Farrell’s return from injury identified as a key aspect of how they can get the best out of Harlequins fly-half Smith.

Farrell was player of the match for Saracens in their win over Northampton Saints last weekend and has looked sharp since returning from an ankle injury.

"They do work together really well, and I think Faz can free up Marcus a little bit so he doesn't have too much to think about," Gleeson said.

"Marcus plays with a smile on his face, plays what he sees and is pretty instinctive. Faz can be really controlled and methodical. The combination of those two from what I've seen is a good one.

"[Farrell] is key for us, a really important figure within the squad. In the autumn he and Marcus got on really well. He’s been great. He drives a lot of the behaviours, the attitude, the desire in the team. The guy is hungry. He has had a big lay-off, got injured in the Aussie game and missed the Six Nations. He just wants to play rugby, he’s a rugby player, he loves it out there, and every day he loves it.

'Farrell is a student of the game'

"He’s a student of the game, and is speaking about stuff all the time. We have little groups with him, me and Marcus, speaking about what we need to do. We do that together with some other players that lead the attack. It's good to have him back in camp, really good to have his presence back again. I think it's going to be a massive positive for the group."

England met up on Sunday for a three-day camp in Richmond, their first training sessions since winning just two out of five matches in the Six Nations, as preparations begin for the upcoming tour of Australia.

Eleven uncapped players have been named in the squad including London Irish teenager Henry Arundell- who Gleeson sat with at dinner during the team's BBQ on Sunday along with Ellis Genge, Smith and Bath fly-half Orlando Bailey - and he believes the 19-year-old can feature for England either as a wing or full-back. "I think only [Adam] Radwan is a touch quicker," Gleeson revealed, before adding: "Pace is scary."

Henry Arundell of London Irish runs with the ball during the Premiership Rugby Cup Final between London Irish and Worcester Warriors at Brentford Community Stadium on May 17, 2022 in Brentford, England - GETTY IMAGES
Henry Arundell of London Irish runs with the ball during the Premiership Rugby Cup Final between London Irish and Worcester Warriors at Brentford Community Stadium on May 17, 2022 in Brentford, England - GETTY IMAGES

Gleeson has, meanwhile, called for England's attack to move to the next level after a disappointing Six Nations campaign in which the side only scored eight tries in five Tests.

"We put some blocks in place. We ticked the box on a couple of areas of our game and there's another big area of our attack that we need to improve on, which is the next step we'll be working on heading to Australia,” he said.

"We want to play what we see a little bit more, there will be space through the middle or there will be space on the edge and we want to be able to expose that. We have got improvements we are looking to make in those areas."

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