English Rugby
Robshaw backs England youth policy
ESPNscrum Staff
January 11, 2012
Harlequins' Chris Robshaw celebrates his side's victory over Toulouse, Toulouse v Harlequins, Heineken Cup, Le Stadium, Toulouse, France, December 18, 2011
Chris Robshaw is excited by the prospect of a youthful England side © Getty Images

Chris Robshaw insists a changing of the guard in the England squad is a positive sign as interim coach Stuart Lancaster prepares to name his first Elite Player Squad on Wednesday.

Lancaster is being widely tipped to draft in as many as eight uncapped players to his 32-man squad, in what could be the most inexperienced England side in 50 years. Robshaw, though, says the move toward a new generation of stars is cause for celebration.

"It's a fresh start, a chance for Stuart to put his mark on things," Robshaw told the Telegraph. "There's no reason for fans to be anxious about the fact that it looks as if there will be a lot of new names in that squad. It's a cause to be excited, not on edge or nervous.

"These are the sort of guys that have been putting their hands up week in, week out in the Premiership. They're trusted to deliver there. The players themselves are full of anticipation. It looks as if they'll get more of a chance this year than in the last couple of years."

The Harlequins back-rower has been touted as one of the leading candidates for the captaincy of the side, alongside the likes of Tom Wood. But Robshaw says his goal, for now, is playing well at club level in order to gain England selection.

"That sort of talk is flattering but it doesn't mean much as you're not even in the team," he said. "My only focus has, of course, been on Harlequins and that's all you can do and should do. You've got to keep your head down, concentrate on what got you to this point in the first place, and the rest will take care of itself."

Robshaw has also backed Lancaster to be a success during his tenure, suggesting it will not take long for the interim boss to gain the full respect of the players.

"Stuart is a nice guy, very honest and down to earth, and a good hands-on coach. He knows what he wants from you but he's also prepared to listen. It's not 'My way or the highway'.

"He's always had faith in young players. They won't be fazed at going up against more experienced sides. You want to go out and prove yourself. Of course, international rugby will be faster, more intense. But the young players will be itching to show that they belong."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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