With Foden out, who should Stuart Lancaster replace him with?


With Ben Foden seemingly out for the Autumn Internationals, England’s Head Coach, Stuart Lancaster, faces the rather tough task of deciding who to replace him with.

It may however not be such a tough choice as those who have marvelled at Foden’s performances in recent years may think though. After all, when England toured South Africa, Foden was selected as a winger with Mike Brown as full back, while Saracens Alex Goode was also given his debut in the 15 shirt.

Furthermore, when you look at the Elite Player Squad, there are only two wingers in it, Chris Ashton and Charlie Sharples, while Foden, Brown and Goode are all in it. This suggests that Foden was at the very least being considered for a wing spot.

It seems likely then that the choice is an either or between Alex Goode and Mike Brown, with Brown probably likely to get the nod on the basis of his greater experience and his exceptional performances for Harlequins.

The debate though is in fact not about replacing Foden the full back, but Foden the winger. With only Ashton and Sharples in the squad Lancaster will be forced to replace Foden with a winger, which is where it gets interesting.

In the Saxons there are a number of wings, Ugo Monye, David Strettle, Miles Benjamin, Tom Biggs and Christian Wade.

As Benjamin is injured and Biggs has not yet made the step to international rugby, it seems a choice between Monye, Strettle and Wade. Experience or exciting youth?

Ashton’s place is pretty much guaranteed, but Sharples has not been setting the world alight so far this season and is far from guaranteed a start in the autumn series. This leaves Lancaster with the very real prospect that his call up will start.

Should he select Strettle or Monye it would be to many the sensible choice, experienced heads who are playing good rugby and will not be intimidated by a high-octane fixture against the Southern Hemisphere superpowers. Monye has played a Lions series for goodness sake.

It is Wade though who has been the form winger of the opening weeks of the season, Wade who looks set to be a star of the future, with kids already running around pretending to be him.

It may be risky to throw him into the pit in this manner, but then what Test match is not potentially a dangerous one to throw someone into?

Wade has the form and the talent, and there’s only one way he’s going to get the experience and that’s by playing.

If I were Stuart Lancaster, I’d seriously consider making Christian Wade my replacement for Foden.

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