England wait pays off for Harlequins' Brown
11:14am Thursday 31st October 2013 in Sport
Mike Brown has had to wait in the wings for majority of his England career but after finally getting his shot at full-back, the Quins ace insists patience has made him a far better player, writes Paddy von Behr.
Throughout last year’s southern hemisphere clashes and this year’s Six Nations, Brown cut a lonely figure out on the left wing of an under-performing England backline.
But after impressing this summer in the number 15 jersey for England, Brown has been the stand-out player in a struggling Quins side this season.
Indeed so impressive has his form been that he has unseated Alex Goode and fought off Ben Foden to start Saturday’s clash with Australia.
And the 28-year-old admits that his time playing out of position has improved him immeasurably and the time is now right for him to make the full-back spot his own.
“It will be great for me to play there because that’s the position I want to play and that is the position I have been playing for a long time now,” said Brown, speaking at Hollins Hall, on behalf of Marriott, official partner of England Rugby, who teamed up with River Cottage to change the face of hotel food.
“It was great to have that opportunity on the wing and I am really thankful to Stuart for giving me that opportunity in that position and I learnt so much from playing there that I can use at full-back as well.
“It gave me a greater understanding of a winger’s role so it helps when I am trying to orchestrate the back three. That was brilliant but obviously I want to keep pushing at 15 and I am sure they see me as a 15.
“I have just been really focussing on what I need to do get selected – keep working hard, focusing on my role within the team – and I have been doing that well.”
As well as Australia England also welcome Argentina and New Zealand to Twickenham this autumn.
And Brown believes the time is now right for Lancaster’s troops to prove their mettle ahead of the 2015 World Cup.
“I’m really excited. I think everyone in the squad is excited,” he added.
“We have had it in the back of their minds – well I have anyway – for a while now.
“Coming into the season I have been trying to do the best for my club but obviously having that in the back of your mind, I can’t wait for the game week to start.
“Obviously we want to keep progressing as a squad and keep our performances high and then take them to the next level.
“We have been on a brilliant journey so far, so we need to keep pushing on, keep working hard and hopefully the performances will come.”
* Mike Brown, far left, David Wilson and Tom Youngs were at Hollins Hall, a Marriott Hotel & Country Club. Marriott, official partner of England Rugby, has teamed up with River Cottage to change the face of hotel food by focusing on seasonal, local, organic and sustainable produce.