Johnno explains Cipriani snub

England coach explains Cipriani snub, happy with depth of options

Last Updated: 19/05/09 7:10pm

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Johnson: Cipriani left out

Johnson: Cipriani left out

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Martin Johnson told Sky Sports News that Danny Cipriani will come back a stronger player after his snub from both the Lions and England squads this summer.

"Everyone wants to be in the starting team for England, everyone wants one of those 15 shirts, but there are only a limited amount of them and with Sam (Vesty) playing particularly well he's edged it and got that call."
Martin Johnson Quotes of the week

Wasps man Cipriani was not only left out of Ian McGeechan's British and Irish Lions squad to tour South Africa, but also out of Johnson's England party to face the Barbarians and Argentina.

The 21-year-old has instead been included in the England Saxons set-up for their Churchill Cup campaign, and some have questioned whether the double blow will knock him back in his international development.

England coach Johnson, though, says that Cipriani will learn from the experience of having to prove himself again after having been given a chance by Johnson last year, when he failed to impress.

"He's disappointed but keen to go on the Saxons tour," Johnson told Sky Sports News about Cipriani.

Good mix

"There are some very experienced players in there, some young guys in there and some guys like Danny have had a little bit with England this year,

"Shane Geraghty is another one in that group, so like the senior squad there's a good blend I think."

Johnson says Cipriani is just one of a number of players who may have expected an England call who will have to raise their games, while some injured stars returning will add further strength in depth.

"If you look at the Saxons group, if you look at any group, there's always players who have been picked and dropped and most guys have that in their career, in fact everyone has that in their career at some point. That's part of life as a professional sportsman and a player."

Sam Vesty has been given the nod by Johnson for England, but Cipriani joins a number of players who still have a chance in the future.

Hunger

"Everyone wants to be in the starting team for England, everyone wants one of those 15 shirts, but there are only a limited amount of them and with Sam (Vesty) playing particularly well he's edged it and got that call," Johnson added.

"Stephen Myler's in that group as well in the Saxons. He's played very well, Shane Geraghty had an injury-plagued season with London Irish, showing there's lots of talent around.

"Toby flood's injured and so is Jonny (Wilkinson), so when everyone's fit it'll be a tough call but that's what we want, we want to make tough calls and pick from world class players."

Vesty was something of a surprise pick for some, but Johnson has no doubts about his quality.

"When you pick players you look at the whole package, Sam's played really well, he's a mature guy who's been around a fair while. He's not always had the starting spot at Leicester but he's taken it and they've mad the European final and won the Premiership."

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