Frustrated Foden targets England recall
Tom Hamilton
May 26, 2015
Ben Foden
Ben Foden© (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Ben Foden is hopeful of featuring in England's first World Cup warm-up match against France on August 15 as he continues his comeback from the injury he suffered in January.

Just three days before the Six Nations squad was announced Foden, who was back to his best for Northampton, ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in his left leg while on Saints duty against Ospreys. At the time Foden did not feel the full brunt of the injury and walked off the pitch only to be told days later he was out for the season.

Despite having not played any rugby since January, Foden was one of three players namechecked by Stuart Lancaster as being in the mix for a place in the World Cup training squad once the injury had recovered. 

"The injury is pretty good," Foden told ESPN. "I started my running last week so it is progressing nicely, I am keeping in good contact with the physios and coaches at England. At the moment I am probably running at 70 per cent so hopefully in the next three to four weeks I'll be able to meet up with the squad and get back to 100 per cent.

"I need to be able to step off both legs again so I need to develop the strength there. I hope to be in the camp as early as possible but they won't want me there unless I can fully join in with the rest of the squad."

England's first QBE international is against France on August 15 which will see a number of the fringe players get a chance to put down their marker. England come into camp on June 21 before then going to Denver in mid-July and Foden is targeting both the trip to America and the match against Les Bleus.

Ben Foden
Ben Foden© Emirates

"The main thing to do is get myself in the reckoning for that first warm-up game, if I'm missing that then I am struggling to make the cut. I need to get my foot in the door for Denver."

It has been a frustrating experience for Foden who last played a Test match for England in 2013. He did tour with England to New Zealand last June and scored a remarkable try in their midweek match against the Crusaders and the signs were looking good ahead of the Six Nations only for him to suffer the cruellest of injury blows.

"It's been frustrating," Foden added. "I got my injury three days before they announced the Six Nations squad. It's been gutting and I had been in contact with Andy Farrell and Stuart Lancaster before that and they were saying good things so I was quite optimistic of my involvement.

"But injuries are part and parcel of the game. It's frustrating sitting on the sidelines watching the team. I'm looking forward to getting back involved but it's a race against time. An ACL injury is six to nine months and luckily things are going well so I'm on the six-month side of things so I've given myself a chance of getting back in there."

His recovery has taken in a trip to Philadelphia to visit specialist Bill Knowles who has helped Jonny Wilkinson, Tiger Woods and Frank Lampard in the past. Foden's immediate focus is getting the strength back in the leg before he gets back into full contact rugby and then comes the hope of breaking into the final 31-man squad for the World Cup.

Lancaster has so far favoured versatility in the back three and Foden - who has started matches for England at fullback and on the wing - hopes his adaptability across the back three will stand him in good stead ahead of the competition.

"I guess I'm a sort of hybrid back. If you look at the back three from the Six Nations you had Anthony Watson the wing who plays fullback for Bath. Jack Nowell was also on the wing but plays centre for Exeter. Mike Brown has been at fullback and on the wing. They like the fact they have back three players they can integrate anywhere. Looking at the way we defend and counter attack, they like having guys who can read kicking games and an understanding of working together as a back three and having the fullback nous. The hybrid is hopefully playing in my favour."

Ben Foden is an Emirates ambassador for Rugby, encouraging young fans to find the flag hidden in Birmingham tomorrow to win the chance to lead a team out at Rugby World Cup 2015. Visit Emirates Facebook, Twitter of Instagram to follow the #EmiratesFlag.

© Tom Hamilton

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