With the 2019 World Cup just a few weeks away the England squad is being finalized. As Eddie Jones has confirmed his squad selection, it is clear that it will be built around Owen Farrell. 2003 World Cup winner Neil Back has called Farrell “undoubtedly England’s most valuable player,” stating that England would have to play differently without him.
So how has Farrell managed to become the country’s most valuable player?
Is Owen Farrell England’s most valuable player?
Farrell has being proving his worth at all levels of rugby since his England debut in 2012. For the Lions he played an important role in the 2017 tour to New Zealand, for Saracens he has been the key component to the Premiership winning side, and for England he has now become the centerpiece of their attack.
Every year he has improved and become more central to England’s overall strategy. Following England’s 44-8 victory over France at the Six Nations this year.
The Evening Standard praised his influence on the pitch and asked the question of whether England could survive big games without him. Neil Back even went as far to suggest that England should remove Farrell from the squad for a week in order for the team to get used to playing without him. This would reduce their dependency on him going into the World Cup.
Of course, it isn’t just the likes of Neil Back heaping praise on the 27-year-old. There has been a growing consensus among fans about Farrell’s place on the world stage.
Farrell’s Saracens and England teammate Jamie George reiterated this stating that the fly-half could be the best player in the world following his performances at the start of the Six Nations.
Dominant club form
At club level, Farrell has helped Saracens dominate the Premiership the past few seasons. He was Saracens’ highest scorer (143 points) during the 2018-2019 season helping them become champions once again.
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The club finished 2nd in the league and went on to dominate the playoffs, with a bwin feature on the 2019 Premiership final reporting how Saracens thrashed Gloucester in the semi-finals 44-19. Farrell converted 4 conversions and 2 penalties. This then took them to their third final against Exeter in four years, where they once again became champions.
In fact, it was in the final against Exeter where Farrell truly shined. With Saracens down 27-16 with only 11 minutes left to play, Farrell rallied the team and triggered an impressive fight back. It was the fly-half’s short restart that gave possession back to Saracens, and it was also his cross-field kick that let Liam Williams score the first of three tries that led Saracens to win 37-34.
Overall, the examples above show that there is little doubt regarding the role Farrell will play in the upcoming World Cup.
With England’s game plan likely to centre around the fly-half, losing him before or during the tournament would be a huge blow to England’s chances of repeating their 2003 triumph.
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