Johnson stands firm on Barkley snub
August 12, 2010
Olly Barkley must work to end his Test exile © Getty Images
England manager Martin Johnson has bluntly answered critics of his decision to axe Olly Barkley, insisting that the Bath midfielder had his chance to impress.
Barkley entered the frame as a possible Test centre on England's June tour to Australia and New Zealand after a scintillating end to the Premiership season, but failed to make an impact once with the national squad.
After playing tour games against the Australian Barbarians he was overlooked for both Tests against the Wallabies and eventually dropped from both the Elite Player Squad and Saxons panel.
"There are areas of his game he needs to work on, and he is fully aware of what they are, to get back into the squad. He is under no illusions," Johnson said. "He had an opportunity to come and play and you can have no more than an opportunity.
"Talking about what he has done in the Premiership where he has played well - you are going to a different level when you play international rugby with the speed and the brutality. It is brutal - if you are not performing you will get exposed at that level.
"The point of taking guys on tour was to get them exposed to the southern hemisphere and playing that level of rugby."