England star Danny Care gives the inside story on Eddie Jones' camp
‘It feels like the first time again’: England star Danny Care gives old team-mate MIKE BROWN the inside story on Eddie Jones’ camp after first call-up in four years and says the team’s young talent are bringing the feel-good factor back
- Danny Care was recalled from the cold by England Head Coach Eddie Jones
- He has been included in England’s 36-player squad for their tour of Australia
- Care believes England will bounce back from recent heavy loss to the Barbarians
- England will begin their test series against Australia in Perth on Saturday July 2
I was made up to speak to my old mate Danny Care from England’s team hotel in Perth on Friday.
We have been through so many highs and lows together and I know his family will share my pride in seeing him back at the top. The wait will make it taste so much sweeter.
As we started chatting, Ellis Genge burst into the room to jump on camera and I asked where his Premiership medal was.
He said it was in his suitcase because he had come straight to England camp from the pub! It was good to see the guys with a smile on their face.
Danny Care has been recalled to the England team four years after his last appearance
‘It’s been amazing,’ said Danny, just before heading to a recovery session on Fremantle Beach. ‘I was always desperate to get back in.
‘Deep down, I always hoped there might be a chance but it was hard to pin your dreams on that.
‘Getting this opportunity, it feels like the first time again. It’s weird being the oldest person but the newest person.
‘There’s some incredible young talent coming through, training with 19-year-olds like Henry Arundell and Will Joseph.
‘It’s scary how similar Will is to his brother, Jonathan, 11 years later. Mannerisms, the way he passes, playing the piano, everything.
‘Do you remember the way JJ looked back when he made a break? It’s crazy.
‘I was in the gym with Arundell today and he was squatting something silly like 200kg and I had to shuffle down!
The Harlequin scrum-half completed more successful passes than any other player last season
‘He reminds me a little bit of when Mathew Tait first burst onto the scene.
‘All of these guys are eager to learn. It’s brilliant. When you get on the training field you’re just chasing them around trying to catch them.
‘It’s been great to be back, especially here in Australia where we’ve got some good memories and hopefully we can make some more.’
It is four years since Danny’s last cap and I was curious to hear how things have changed.
International camps used to be very serious and intense. Training was tough and we probably lost the sense of fun. Does it feel different now?
‘It is different,’ he said. ‘It’s still intense and training’s hard, which is how it should be, but off the field it’s a lot more laid back.
‘There’s a young group that drive that. Guys like Gengey and Luke Cowan-Dickie alongside Courtney Lawes and Owen Farrell.
‘The young guys really drive the stuff off the pitch. You get a lot of free time during the afternoon. We’re off to see the State of Origin match on Sunday night.
Care believes England will bounce back following their recent surprise loss to the Barbarians
‘The big thing is everyone’s trying to do things with a smile on their face. There’s a big culture of enjoyment. I’ve loved that.
‘However long I play for, I’m going to enjoy it. I’m here with a smile on my face every day.’
Our tour of Australia in 2016, which we won 3-0, was one of my favourite times with England.
I will never forget Danny and Jamie George doing their Ant and Dec double act as part of the midweek entertainment.
They put on their own version of ‘I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here’ and somehow sourced a load of spiders, snakes and lizards for these bushtucker trials in the team room.
They put a blindfold on Kyle Sinckler and he was terrified!
On the field, that tour was so hostile. We were getting abused every game. I loved it.
There were articles in the Australian press absolutely slagging us. Have the older guys shared that experience?
‘Eddie wants us senior lads to impart some wisdom on the younger guys,’ Danny said.
‘It’s a hostile environment when you wear an England shirt here. You’re not liked and it’s one of the best feelings when you come here and win.
‘You know what it was like when we won 3-0, but it’s going to be even harder than six years ago.
‘Australia are finding form, they’ve got a few of their overseas players back and Quade Cooper is running the show.
‘We want to be brave and attack teams. Michael Vaughan came in the other day and talked about his experiences of playing in Australia with the England cricket team.
‘They had varying levels of success but when they were successful was when they were brave and attacked them.
‘Hopefully we can be brave, play confrontationally, play quickly and unleash our backline, which is frightening and exciting.
‘With Marcus Smith and Farrell joining up, they’re two of the best ball players out there.
The 35-year-old played under Eddie Jones during England’s 3-0 tour win over Australia in 2016
‘Hopefully we can get them some quick ball, then we’ve got gas out wide to finish stuff off.
‘That new England mindset of being brave and playing to the space quickly is something I’d like to get involved with.’
It is hard to look beyond a 10-12 pairing of Smith and Farrell next week, given that Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade are both missing.
Hopefully Danny starts alongside them because he is as good as anyone at that high-tempo game.
Given neither team has really shown their hand yet, this series is tough to call. I would give Australia a slight edge with home advantage, but England will not be intimidated.
There doesn’t seem to be much pressure on Eddie from within the RFU, but he could do with some positive results to boost his public support.
I was surprised at how upbeat he was after conceding 50 points to the Barbarians last week. Is he going soft as he gets older?
‘I wouldn’t say soft!’ said Danny. ‘We played differently to how we would in a Test match. A few things worked and a few things didn’t.
‘Towards the end there were 14-point swings where we’d drop the ball and they’d go the length.
Care will be hoping to impress in Australia as he looks to cement a place in England’s World Cup squad for next year
‘It looks like you’ve been battered. The Baa-Baas scoring 50 points isn’t good enough but there will be a different vibe to how we play against the Aussies.
‘We know we can’t play like that at Test match level.
‘Eddie said he was proud of how we stuck at it. He’s still got that bite in training. Every breakdown, he’s on people.
‘He’s so meticulous in detail. If you aren’t quite at the right height or the right angle at every breakdown then he’s picking you up on it.
‘That’s what you want. You want to be coached by the best. No stone is unturned with him and we’re hopeful we can cause them some problems.’
Before we finish, I can’t let Danny leave without mentioning the elephant in the room.
During his years out of the England camp, he was a pundit for the BBC and was never shy of casting a critical eye over Jones’s tactics.
I am ready with a couple of old headlines on my phone, but Danny quickly jumps in.
‘If we could leave them out that would be great!’ he said. ‘Delete them please! Just be as nice as you can!’
Hopefully it is a while before we hear Danny with a microphone again. After the pain of missing out together in 2019, I would love nothing more than to see him kick on and make next year’s World Cup.
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