Mike Brown warns of Owen Farrell’s power struggle in England squad
England rugby star Mike Brown has warned of a potential power struggle between Owen Farrell and new sensation Marcus Smith.
Brown says Farrell is an “alpha male” and that he once tried to take the lead when Danny Cipriani was handed the England 10 shirt.
Cipriani performed on the South Africa tour after tearing up the Premiership in 2018, but struggled to make an impact.
Brown is concerned that Farrell’s presence will stifle Smith’s ability to mark his authority over the team from 10 if the England captain is picked apart from him at No.12.
“If there is a power struggle on the ground then you have a problem,” Brown wrote in his column for MailOnline.
“I saw it firsthand with Owen and Danny Cipriani on the 2018 South Africa tour. Danny was playing the opening half but Owen was still trying to make the calls from 12 and play his way.
“You can see his body language towards Danny on the TV pictures. It just didn’t work.
“Owen is a dominant male. That’s what makes him such a great leader. He’s brilliant in team discussions, brilliant at bringing energy and brilliant at setting the tone in defense.
Brown insisted that the way to bring out the best in Smith is to give him full control of the team.
He believes George Ford and Farrell partnered for England due to Ford’s reserved nature, but he says Smith is a different character.
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“When the Harlequins entered the race for the Premiership title last season, Marcus was the guy in charge,” added Brown.
“We had this 21 year old kid running meetings in a room full of international players and it all felt completely natural.
“A true triple threat player with his hitting, passing and running skills.
“I just hope they give Marcus full autonomy and that they don’t cut off his wings. It will be a step forward in terms of game management at Test level and you have to find the balance, but this area of its game has grown a lot.
Rather than Farrell, Brown believes Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade should start at center, as both players have recently played at club level.
However, Brown isn’t convinced Jones will drop Farrell: “Eddie named Owen as captain this week so I expect him to start.”