Wood focused on Saints
Flanker on a mission after disappointing World Cup
By Tony Curtis - follow me on Twitter: @SkysportsTC. Last Updated: 07/11/11 10:52am
Tom Wood has played down talk of becoming the next England captain - insisting he first has to win back his Northampton shirt.
The 24-year-old has returned to Franklin's Gardens after a disappointing World Cup campaign saw him reduced to a bit-part role in New Zealand.
It was a harsh lesson about international rugby for Wood, who had broken in to the England side ahead of the RBS Six Nations and was one of the star performers during the title-winning campaign.
Wood, though, was limited to just 99 minutes of action during the World Cup as Tom Croft, captain Lewis Moody and James Haskell were all preferred on the flanks.
However with Moody announcing his retirement from the international stage, Wood's name has been mentioned as a possible successor as skipper.
Wood, though, is focusing on making up for lost time at Northampton.
"I definitely feel I have something to prove at Northampton," Wood told skysports.com.
"It is very flattering to have my name talked about. I obviously would love the job and to lead out England but it is media hype."
Tom Wood Quotes of the week
"There are a lot of young guys coming in. Ben Nutley has played really well in my absence. We've always had a strong back row with the likes of Calum Clark, Phil Dowson and Roger Wilson and people are playing well
"You have got to fight for your own place before you worry at anything above that. I have just got to make sure I am doing everything right to make sure that I am worthy of that shirt.
"Above and beyond that, having had such a disappointing time at the World Cup of course I have a point to prove. I make no bones about it, I have got to go out there and prove I am the man for the job."
Wood joined Northampton from Worcester in 2010 and a stellar season saw him named the Aviva Premiership player of the year.
And although he would be proud to skipper his country, Wood admits people should not get carried away by the success Wales have had in naming a young captain in the shape of Sam Warburton.
"It is very flattering to have my name talked about," he said.
"I obviously would love the job and to lead out England but it is media hype. I think they have seen Sam Warburton be successful and coming of age and have started talking about a new era ahead of the 2015 World Cup. However I am still reeling after the last one, so I am not quite ready to be looking that far ahead at the moment.
"I have got to make sure of my Northampton place first, while I am not even in the England team at the moment. I didn't even make the bench for the France game, so I have got to make sure I am on form and worthy of my place in the team.
"Even when I am, I don't think you should name your captain well in advance of any tournament or even for the next six months.
"I think once you have picked the best team for the game coming up then name your captain, rather than naming the captain well in advance.
"I think there are a few question marks over what is going on at the RFU so worrying over who is captain is a little way off."
Tom Wood was speaking at the launch of the Gatorade G Series Pro range, a new series of sports performance products that fuel athletes before, during and after workout, practice or competition. Available to buy in stores from November 20th, follow @GatoradeUK for more information.