Armitage vows to perform for England

Delon Armitage vowed never to let his team-mates down again as he offered a brutally honest assessment of his performance in England's 30-17 victory over Wales.

The London Irish full-back feared he would be dropped for Sunday's Valentine's Day clash with Italy in Rome after his least impressive game in an England jersey.

Armitage refused to take any credit for the vital interception which led to James Haskell scoring the match-winning try, claiming it was "a bit of luck".

But after conducting some harsh self-analysis, Armitage is now determined to redeem himself against the Italians having retained his place ahead of Northampton's Ben Foden.

"I was very disappointed about the Welsh game. We still won but on a personal level it was the worst game I have played for England," said Armitage.

"I felt I let the boys down. I wasn't in a very good mood on Saturday night and I sulked a little bit.

"I spent a bit of time at home reviewing the game. That self-analysis is an important part of the process so I knew exactly what I needed to work on and didn't have to come in and get told by the coaches.

"So is the honesty. I put my hand up in the meeting and said 'I let you down, I will be better next week for you guys'.

"But I was pretty nervous about selection. Ben Foden is a great player. He has been playing really well, he is putting the pressure on and I'm feeling it.

"I am glad I have another opportunity. I feel I have a chance to repay the guys, repay the coaches. The Italy game can't come soon enough because the seven-day wait has been killing me."

Armitage was England's player of the year last season and he started 11 consecutive Test matches, scoring five tries, before shoulder surgery ruled him out of the autumn international campaign.

But it was a sign of Armitage's standing in the England set-up that Johnson picked him to play in the Wales game after just five appearances back for London Irish.

"That is why I am so disappointed. The England coaches put their trust in me and I disappointed them. I don't ever want that to happen again," Armitage explained.

Foden, who is growing in stature as a top-class full-back almost by the week, is chomping at the bit for an opportunity and Armitage knows it.

"My focus now is on Italy and keeping that 15 shirt. Another performance like the Wales game and I will be struggling - and Foden would deserve it," he said.

"At international level, you are out there to do your job and if are not doing it properly you don't deserve to be there.

"I was still a bit rusty against Wales. Against Italy I have got to make amends straight away. I want to get back to where I was playing for England, being solid at the back."

Armitage also offered England a sharp cutting edge from deep, which they missed during the autumn as first Ugo Monye and then Mark Cueto stood in at full-back.

Now united as a back-three unit they were quiet against Wales as England struggled to move the ball wide in the face of Shaun Edwards' fast-moving blitz defensive system.

Italy, by their very nature, will look to turn the game into a slug-fest but Armitage insisted England must improve their attacking game if they are to triumph in Rome.

"It was a good win against Wales but we have done nothing yet," said Armitage.

"We need to start playing rugby. As a back line we need to start cutting teams. We need to get the wingers in space.

"The forwards are doing good work and it is our turn to repay them with tries.

"We know Italy have quite a narrow drift defence so if we can get the ball to Ugo and 'Cuets' early doors I am sure we can cause problems."

Johnson will confirm the make-up of his bench tomorrow afternoon, having delayed the announcement due to concerns over injury and illness.

Captain Steve Borthwick has not trained all week after contracting a bug, and Simon Shaw was laid low on Wednesday while there is an injury cloud over Lewis Moody.

Johnson insisted all three will be fit to play and he is confident prop David Wilson will have shaken a neck problem to be involved from the bench.

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas