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Foden excited by England opportunity

Ben Foden scores his second try against Saracens last weekend © Getty Images

Rugby News Foden excited by England opportunity

Ben Foden is excited by the prospect of being part of an England match day squad on home turf this weekend.

England host Australia in the opening match of the 2013 Autumn Internationals, with Foden one of five Saints to be included in Stuart Lancaster’s match squad along with Lee Dickson, Courtney Lawes, Dylan Hartley and Tom Wood.

After a flying start that has seen him score four tries already – three coming in the Saints’ last two matches alone – Foden’s season is already in stark contrast to the same point last year.

Then he was out of action with an ankle injury that restricted not just club appearances but opportunities at international level, too, and Foden is all set to make the most of the opportunity.

“It’s been 19 months since I ran out at Twickenham, and it’s good to be back in the fold,” he told Talking Rugby. “And what a game to be doing it in, against Australia in the first game of the Autumn Internationals!”

Foden has been fighting tooth and nail for the full back spot this season, with Harlequins’ Mike Brown and Saracens’ Alex Goode also vying for the position.

“It’s great to have competition for places,” he said. “We’ve had a few injuries and there are some boys missing, but we’re still giving the coaches some headaches with selection. That can only be a good thing for the squad and shows the quality of the players that are coming through.

“Hopefully I can push Browny into making some good performances this weekend and as a team we can be in good stead over the next few weeks. It’s exciting for me to hopefully come off the bench and influence the game, and that’s what I’ll try and do given the chance.”

The injury sustained in the third round of the 2012/13 Aviva Premiership campaign ruled him out for the best part of three months, time in which Foden says that he was able to take time to assess where he could improve as a player.

“As much as my injury was a setback it gave me time to work on other areas of my game,” Foden acknowledged. “I’ve worked on my kicking game, trying to control the tempo of games and making sure I’m not putting unnecessary pressure on my team.

“Working with Alex King and Alan Dickens at the Saints has helped me, and the England coaches have seen that. They all want me to strengthen in areas I have to work on.”

It is a timely encounter for both England and Australia to size up how each other are doing two years out from the World Cup. The teams will go head-to-head at Twickenham on October 3rd for a contest that will go a long way to deciding the outcome of Pool 1.

It is the first time that England will have hosted the global game’s showpiece in over 20 years, and with international matches rapidly running out Foden says that attention is already turning to 2015.

“Everyone’s got the World Cup firmly at the back of their minds,” he added. “We know that there are only the next couple of England appearances, then the Six Nations, and then the last summer tour before the World Cup, and everyone’s going to have to keep their form and fitness up to standards.

“We’re looking to really build from here towards the World Cup, and with it being in England, in our own back yard, is going to add that extra excitement and ambition for the boys.”

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