Six Nations
Tindall hails return of 'real' Johnno
ESPNscrum Staff
March 3, 2011
England's Mike Tindall bursts between two French defenders, England v France, Six Nations, Twickenham, London, England, February 26, 2011
Mike Tindall powers forwards against France © Getty Images

England centre Mike Tindall believes that their recent resurgence can be attributed in part to the re-emergence of the real Martin Johnson.

The Gloucester midfielder has captained his country to victories over Wales, Italy and France in recent weeks and they are now two wins away from a first Six Nations Grand Slam since 2003, when Johnson himself was skipper.

Johnson's appointment as England manager in 2007 put aside his lack of experience in favour of what he brings to the table as a leader, and Tindall thinks that the move is finally paying off.

"The only real comparison between now and 2003 is the togetherness and banter and how we get on, how comfortable everyone is in each other's company," Tindall said. "When he is in the changing room he is showing the boys more of the Martin Johnson that you saw on the field. We wanted to see that fiery side of him.

"Every time we go out just before a game he looks like he wants to go out there with us. Yes he's grown into his role but we've always known about him having that ability to relax and have fun. That all comes from having a successful team and we're fortunate at the moment because that's what we've got. It brings everybody closer together and everybody enjoys being here, the more successful it gets."

England are finally making the most of their talented backs division while up front the pack is beginning to fire, and Tindall is confident that they have turned a corner after some difficult times in the early part of Johnson's tenure.

"It was tough when Johnno came in. You have to give people time to develop and find out what they want to do and how they want to approach things," Tindall said. "It's been a building process with all the coaches, with players starting to trust that and react to it. We're finally getting to where the coaches are comfortable listening to what the payers say and taking it onboard and vice versa. It's working well and hopefully it will continue for a long time.

"I don't think in the past we have got the best out of all the players whereas now we seem to have found a way and a style that everyone wants to play, everyone can get involved in and everyone can express themselves. If you have that you have a happy team who want to lay their body down on the line. That is how it is going."

England have released Bath centre Matt Banahan and Gloucester prop Paul Doran-Jones to play for their clubs in the Aviva Premiership this weekend.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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