World Cup winning Coach Sir Clive Woodward is backing English star Owen Farrell to emulate the achievements of Jonny Wilkinson – former England fly-half – or even surpass them and lead the country to glory.
In 1998, Woodward had given Wilkinson his England debut. Wilkinson went on to participate in the World Cup final against Australia where he kicked the winning drop goal for England in 2003.
Under Eddie Jones, Farrell, 25, has been a key player in England’s 16 game winning run where he featured at the inside-centre. This thus allows George Ford to play at fly-half.
Farrell who plays at club level for Saracens as a fly-half won his 50th cap on Sunday against Italy. He is already being compared with 91-time capped Wilkinson by Woodward.
Writing in The Mail on Sunday, Woodward said: “Farrell is already a world-class player, a cast-iron starter for the Lions this summer barring injury, but I believe he has the potential to become one of the all-time greats of English rugby, hopefully a World Cup winner – perhaps even as captain – and possibly the most capped player in England’s history.”
He noted that he had been lucky enough to work with Jonny Wilkinson, whom he thought he would never see his likes in his lifetime. He however believes that Farrell is on the path to emulate and even surpass Jonny with his impressive goal licking and tackling skills.
Woodward believes that all round, Farrell’s play has improved a lot over the last few years and that he is already showing the same kind of self-control and maturity shown by Jonny in games, even the fiercest.
He went on to list some of the similarities between the two players such as same work ethic and focus, and a flinty competitive edge.