England v Argentina: No holds barred as Ben Foden is brought in from the cold

Northampton flyer keen to take his chance against Argentina

Long time, no see. Ben Foden's international career, once positively awash with promise, began to dry up when he mangled his ankle ligaments while playing for Northampton against Bath a little over a year ago, and he has been lost in the desert of non-selection ever since. "I've had a lot of things happen to me," he said, "but that injury was the hardest thing to bear."

It cost him his hard-earned place in the squad for last year's autumn internationals, and in his desperation to reclaim it, he returned to big-time club rugby far more quickly than was good for him. "I played when my ankle was only 70-80 per cent right," he confessed, "and when you do that, people notice. When people notice, you slip down the pecking order. When you're young, you think your bones are made of diamonds and that you won't break. I broke."

Having pieced himself back together again – properly, this time – he at least feels he is in the right condition to remind Stuart Lancaster and the rest of the England coaching team of the things he brings to the national team's attacking game: straight-line speed, a sense of adventure and, perhaps most important of all, a finisher's instinct.

Foden may not love the left wing duties he will perform on Saturday in the way he cherishes the full-back role, but after 18 long months of bitter frustration, he is more than happy to accept the shirt on offer. What makes him happier still is the opportunity to help his old Northampton clubmate and close friend Chris Ashton find a way out of the doldrums.

"It's been a while since we were in the team together," Foden said, casting his mind back to the drawn game with the Springboks in Port Elizabeth in the summer of 2012. "He hasn't been having the greatest time in the England shirt, so I hope I'll be a reassuring presence for him. We've always had a laugh and a joke, always bounced off each other, always had a mutual understanding of what we're trying to create as a partnership."

Foden's primary target is a return to the full-back position, but he accepts that this may not come his way any time soon. Mike Brown is the man in possession and a strong performance against the Wallabies last weekend pretty much cemented the Harlequin's place for the remainder of the autumn.

"He's been outstanding for the last two years, which has been good for Mike and good for England," Foden said, generously. "That's the thing about falling from grace, as I did: there are so many people in the mix, waiting to take advantage. All I can do right now is make the best of this opportunity, because the wing positions are pretty competitive too. Marland Yarde went down injured this week; Christian Wade went down too. If they'd stayed fit, I'd have struggled to get a look in."

Having not played on the wing since that day in the Eastern Cape, he is asking a lot of himself to trip the light fantastic on Saturday – especially as the Pumas are far more knowing in the back division than they like to let on.

"I'm confident in my ability, though," he said. "The thing about playing as much at full-back as I have is that you have a very good idea of what you want your wings to be doing, especially in defence. I'll be going at this one no holds barred."

Second place plan: England aim for No 2 spot

Stuart Lancaster has set England the target of replacing South Africa in second place in the world rankings by the end of the season.

England are third in the standings and are hoping to register their ninth victory in 10 matches when they play Argentina at Twickenham. New Zealand have a near-unassailable lead at the summit of the IRB's rating system, but Lancaster believes South Africa can be caught. "Our win against Australia on Saturday has widened the gap between us and fourth," he said. "If we can keep our winning record up we'll close the gap."

News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Sport
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
i100
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?