Youngs: No time to reflect on meteoric rise
March 3, 2013
Tom Youngs has made a big impact for England this season © PA Photos
England's Tom Youngs admits his feet have barely touched the ground during an incredible season that could soon be capped by Grand Slam glory.
The 26-year-old is the elder brother of England and Leicester team-mate Ben Youngs but has taken a little longer to come to the fore. The switch from centre to hooker is key to that and, after a loan spell at Nottingham, Youngs has transformed into an integral player for club and country.
Despite only making his England debut last year, Youngs has shone in the Six Nations and could cap an incredible rise to prominence with a Grand Slam crown.
"My goal [at the start of the season] was to get the number one shirt at Leicester and to be part of the Six Nations squad, whether that was just coming down to a couple of training sessions," he said.
"You play for England, you play that game then you are back at your club, then you have got a big Heineken Cup game to play in and a big Premiership game so you never stop and look at it. You just carry on.
"Maybe when you get your time off at the end of the year you may just sit there and say 'I have had a good year'. You don't even think about the Grand Slam because you have got so much to think about regarding the Italy game.
"You are busy improving as a team and working through those details. Why get carried away by the Grand Slam? At Leicester we always say it is just another game and in some ways it is true."
That next game sees Italy come to Twickenham on March 10 and puts Youngs up against a familiar face in Leicester team-mate Martin Castrogiovanni.
"I am looking forward to playing against Castro," Youngs said. "They are a great side and they have improved year on year. They play with a lot of passion and they are very physical so it will be a very big test next Sunday.
"There are a lot of people who have helped me and passed on advice and he is one of them. They have all chipped in but probably Dan Cole has been the one, because I get on so well with him from the academy, so he is the one I speak to a lot."
The advice comes in handy for a player who admits he has been overawed by events in the past.
"I am a bit older, I am 26 and I have seen things in my career and been in big games for Nottingham," Youngs added. "Maybe when I was there I got too nervous, then I realised that if get too nervous and too bogged down by little things I won't perform. I try to take it in my stride a bit more now."
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