England progress pleases Johnson

Date published: November 29 2016

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Former England captain and World Cup winner Martin Johnson is backing the current crop of players to repeat their 2003 heroics in 2019.

Johnson, who led his nation to glory in Australia, has been impressed by how Eddie Jones’ side are playing during a thus far unbeaten year.

Next up for England is a home clash with the Wallabies and he feels his countrymen will only improve as a team as they play more matches.

“We had a very experienced team at that point,” he told BBC Sport.

“You’ve got a group now who have been around for a couple of World Cups, and have got a lot of caps.

“Players like Ben Youngs and captain Dylan Hartley have 50 caps-plus, so they are getting into the part of their careers when they are at their peak,” he added.

“We still need more players to come through and really hit that world-class level, and when you have a squad of 20-plus guys like that, you have a chance to really do something.”

Johnson continued by stressing that defeats can often become a positive in the longer term and he feels their 2011 World Cup hurt is being used correctly in their recent resurgence on the field.

“They have had some disappointments like we all do, and you either fall away or use them to motivate yourself,” he said.

“I hope they are enjoying what they are doing. When you are winning it does create that momentum of good fun, and everyone wants to be in the group.”

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