Former England wing Mike Brown believes Owen Farrell could cause chemistry issues with new fly half Marcus Smith as they are both have a dominant presence
England captain Owen Farrell could cause a power struggle between himself and new fly half Marcus Smith as he is an ‘alpha male’, according to Mike Brown.
Brown is concerned about the development of Smith’s game at the international level as the Harlequins star is going to try and bring his playmaking quality to the England set-up.
The former England man, who scored 13 tries in 72 appearances, cited the inclusion of Danny Cipriani on the tour of South Africa after he tore up the Premiership in 2018.
However, he struggled to make an impact in the way many anticipated.
“If there’s a power struggle on the pitch then you’ve got a problem,” Brown wrote in his column for MailOnline.
“I saw it first hand with Owen and Danny Cipriani on the 2018 tour of South Africa. Danny was playing fly-half but Owen was still trying to make the calls from 12 and play it his way.
“You can see his body language towards Danny on the TV footage. It just didn’t work.
“Owen’s an alpha male. That’s what makes him such a good leader. He’s brilliant at team-talks, brilliant at bringing energy and brilliant at setting the tone in defence.”
Brown insisted that the way to bring out the best in Smith is when the 22-year-old is given the keys to orchestrate the attack – which will only work if Farrell can adapt and work with him.
The 36-year-old explained why the combination of George Ford and Farrell was so effective. Ford is a more reserved character, which allows Farrell to be the more dominant voice with no issues.
However, Brown understands Smith is a different character to Ford – and he hopes Eddie Jones will allow the Harlequins player to play his game.
“When Harlequins went on their charge to win the Premiership title last season, Marcus was the guy calling the shots,” Brown added.
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“We had this 21-year-old kid leading meetings in a room full of international players and it all felt completely natural.
“A genuine triple-threat player with his kicking, passing and running ability.
“I just hope they give Marcus full autonomy and don’t clip his wings. It will be a step up in terms of game-management at Test level and you have to find the balance, but that area of his game has developed a lot.”
Rather than Farrell, Brown believes Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade should start at centre, as both players have starred at club level recently.
However, Brown is not confident that Jones will drop Farrell: “Eddie named Owen as captain this week so I expect he will start.”