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Level-headed Farrell only looks to future

27 July 2012

  • Owen Farrell only looking forwards despite 12 months of achievement
  • Saracens fly half credits calming influence of Charlie Hodgson
England fly half Owen Farrell kicks a penalty for England on the June tour to South Africa

Photo: Getty Images

With the consummate attitude of a modern professional sportsman, England fly half Owen Farrell is only looking forwards, despite the close-season chance to reflect on a startling year of progression for the 20-year-old.

Achievements and career milestones in the last 12 months have come thick and fast: a first full season in the Aviva Premiership with Saracens; an international debut in the RBS 6 Nations; the dual honour of being named young player of the year by Aviva Premiership and RPA; and a first senior tour to the southern hemisphere this June.

Not wanting to rest on what he has accomplished to date, Farrell has little interest in patting himself on the back and is only concerned with what next season will bring.

“I haven’t really reflected on last year at all over the summer, I’m looking forward to the new season,” said the eight-Test cap man.

“Obviously it was a good year but it’s time to build on it, hopefully get better and keep learning along the way. I’m only kind-of able to switch off from rugby, not 100 per cent but it was good to get away for a bit and clear my head somewhat so I’m raring to go for preseason.”

Therein lies the secret to Farrell’s rapid ascent of his steep learning curve: continually looking forwards means you don’t pay attention to the hype when things are going well – when headlines compare you to Jonny Wilkinson after just three Tests, for example.

Saraces fly half Charlie Hodgson leads Owen Farrell through a drill at England training

Photo: Getty Images

And likewise, there’s no need to be concerned when there’s a blip in seamless progress – such as losing your place to Toby Flood for the second Test against South Africa in Johannesburg.

There’s a hint of the measured attitude of recently retired England fly half Charlie Hodgson, who joined Saracens last summer, present and Farrell’s admiration for the 31-year-old is clear.  

He said: “Charlie is brilliant – it’s great having him around at the club all the time. He’s been brilliant for me to pick up little things but also the bigger things of how he behaves on and off the pitch.

“It’s been a massive learning experience for me, working with Charlie. I don’t like to set specific targets but I’m looking to get better week-by-week. I know where I want to go and hopefully I’ll be a lot better for it.”

With former dual code international and newly appointed England backs coach Andy Farrell as a dad, Owen has grown up with an oval ball in his hands in an all-encompassing rugby environment.

But the former England U16, U18 and U20 starlet would not have it any other way, relishing the magnitude associated to his ‘day job’.

He added: “There are always rugby conversations at home but that’s what we enjoy, that what I’ve grown up with.

“It’s my dad’s job, it’s my job, but it’s not just a hobby, it’s massive. But along the way we really enjoy it.”