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George Ford: Leaving Leicester will improve my England chances

Last Updated: 30/01/13 12:33pm

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George Ford: Expected to start for England Saxons against Scotland A on Friday

George Ford: Expected to start for England Saxons against Scotland A on Friday

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George Ford says his decision to leave Leicester was driven by a desire to play more regularly and boost his international chances.

Twelvetrees is poised to make his England debut against Scotland on Saturday, having left Leicester last summer in search of regular first-team rugby with Gloucester.

Ford is understudy to Toby Flood at Leicester and has decided to take a similar route. He is being tipped for a move to Bath, where his father Mike is assistant coach.

"It is difficult when you are on the bench and you are coming on for 10 or 20 minutes each game. Playing a full 80 minutes is what I need to be doing really," said Ford.

"Like any young player, you need to be playing and the more you play the better you get.

"For any young player who is willing to learn and progress in their career they need to be playing as much as they can.

"It was one of the toughest decisions I have had to make and I didn't take it lightly.

"Young players need to be playing to learn and develop. It (my situation) is no different to any young player."

Ford impressed for the England Saxons during their win over the Irish Wolfhounds last weekend and he is in line to start against Scotland A on Friday night.

"For any young player who is willing to learn and progress in their career they need to be playing as much as they can. It was one of the toughest decisions I have had to make and I didn't take it lightly."
George Ford

"It is a great experience for us all. It is another step up from the Under 20s," said the 19-year-old.

"I have been looking forward to this for a while. To get a start and get a couple of games under my belt is exactly what I wanted."

Saxons coach Jon Callard insisted that playing regularly is the only way rising stars can fulfil their potential. He is concerned too many get caught in a log-jam of talent at Aviva Premiership clubs.

Twelvetrees found himself in the same boat but is set to be named at inside centre when Stuart Lancaster confirms his starting line-up for Saturday's Calcutta Cup clash at Twickenham.

Ford is the next fly-half in line for England, behind Owen Farrell, Toby Flood and Freddie Burns.

Callard rates him as highly as Farrell, who has been hailed by Lancaster as a player with a rare talent and temperament.

"I have no doubt about his ability. I have no doubt about comparing his ability with Owen or Freddie," Callard said.

"Freddie is not frightened to back himself. I think George can do that as well.

"George and Owen are from a similar stable. They have both had a lot of pressure heaped on them at an early age and coped well with it."

Leicester were upset to lose Ford, who joined the club from the Leeds academy in 2009, with Cockerill claiming he has been badly advised.

But Ford has pledged his commitment to Leicester until the end of the season and he has vowed to keeping pushing Flood for the starting fly-half jersey.

"I spent a lot of time mulling it over and thinking about it," Ford said.

"It is over now and I will be 100 per cent committed to the club and I will be doing everything I can to make sure the Tigers win something this season.

"The rest of the season I will hopefully be playing in a few games and challenging for the 10 shirt and hopefully it will be a successful season and we can win things."

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