Monye vows to bounce back
January 14, 2010
England captain Steve Borthwick consoles Monye following their victory over Argentina in November © Getty Images
Ugo Monye is determined to erase the memories of a disappointing autumn series by propelling England to Six Nations glory.
The Harlequins winger, who toured South Africa with the British & Irish Lions last summer, struggled to find his best form on his return to England colours in November and had to endure an error-strewn nightmare at fullback against Argentina. But with a little spiritual guidance, the 26-year-old has regained his confidence and is ready once again for his side's latest tilt at the northern hemisphere crown.
The last time England lifted the Six Nations trophy was in 2003 when current manager Martin Johnson captained Clive Woodward's team through an unbeaten campaign that included a crushing 42-6 win over Ireland in the Grand Slam decider at Lansdowne Road. Johnson went on to lift the William Webb Ellis trophy later that year and he now hopes the current squad can follow that same path to glory, with the next global showpiece a little over a year away.
Monye, meanwhile, is urging his team-mates to defy their position as outsiders and believes they can win the tournament. "We definitely should go into it thinking that we can win it," Monye told PA Sport. "It will be difficult but I think it is definitely possible that we can win it. All we have to do is have the belief that we can do it. We have very high expectations of ourselves and just have to have the confidence to win it.
"We have a very good coaching staff and have to have belief within the playing staff that we can win it. We have players who are playing well for their teams domestically and we just need them to transfer that form onto the international stage."
Johnson's position, as well as the rest of his backroom staff, came under scrutiny in the wake of their impotent showing in the autumn that reaped just one try and one win - against the Pumas - and defeats at the hands of Australia and New Zealand. But Monye denied there is any problem with the England coaching set-up and believes the criticism will only make the squad stronger.
"There's nothing wrong with the coaches at all," Monye said. "It was a frustrating series for us as a team and it was frustrating for me on a personal level in the second game. It was good for me to have the experience of playing against New Zealand. I had to play two games at fullback but when I was out on the wing I was much more comfortable.
"The criticism made us stronger as a unit and we tried not to get involved," he added. "It's not nice hearing it but obviously the management are going to be the first ones in the firing line when things go wrong."