Croft focused on Tigers

Leicester flanker focused on club rugby not England right now

By Paul Higham on Twitter@SkySportsPaulH.   Last Updated: 20/02/11 4:15pm

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Croft: Not ready for England

Croft: Not ready for England

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Tom Croft is not expecting an instant return to the England team for their huge RBS Six Nations clash with France despite making his comeback for Leicester on Saturday.

"As far as I am concerned what makes me happy is playing for Leicester, I would feel nervous if I was called up (for England) after just 25 minutes. I just need to get back playing regularly."
Tom Croft Quotes of the week

Tigers flanker Croft emerged off the bench for the closing 20 minutes of Leicester's eighth straight Premiership win - a 21-12 success over Wasps - in his return from a broken shoulder.

Northampton back-rower Tom Wood has filled the number six jersey well for England, but Croft would offer an upgrade at the position for Martin Johnson.

England have beaten Wales and Italy so far, but France will offer them their sternest test yet at Twickenham on Saturday, meaning Johnson could be tempted to call on Croft already.

However, Croft admits his lack of action would make him apprehensive about returning to the England side so soon, and is instead focusing on getting more time under his belt for Leicester - starting with the trip to Sale on Friday night.

"My focus now is playing for Leicester," the 25-year-old said. "I got 20 minutes in this game and hopefully I can have more game time next week and get back to fitness and into the swing of things, just get back into the Leicester way of things and go from there.

England waiting

"Martin Johnson kept tabs on me to see how I was doing but the England team are going well and have had two great wins from two games.

"Tom Wood has come into the team and played extremely well, (James) Haskell has played well and the back row have functioned well.

"As far as I am concerned what makes me happy is playing for Leicester, I would feel nervous if I was called up (for England) after just 25 minutes. I just need to get back playing regularly."

Croft watched the Italy game but found it a frustrating experience to be watching England doing so well in the Six Nations.

"I was at the Italy game, but it is hard to watch," he added. "The team are playing well and scoring tries and you want to be out there, but that just gives you more encouragement to do that little bit extra to be back involved.

Frustrating

"It's been very frustrating. I thought I would be back a lot sooner but small things push you back that extra week. But we have great medical staff at Leicester, who have got me back strong enough to play and I did not feel it at all during the game.

"It's great to be back. It's been a long time since I last played and I was away with England before that. So it's good to be back in Leicester colours and on a winning side."

Leicester rugby director Richard Cockerill said of Croft: "He was really good - we will look to get him some more game-time next week.

"He is world-class and we don't know how long it will be before England come for him, but we will try and get as much out of him as we can."

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