Danny Care’s admiration for Francesco Totti ensured he won the scramble to occupy the Italian great’s changing room seat at the Stadio Olimpico two years ago.
England will head for the Roma section allocated to visiting teams when they open their NatWest Six Nations on Sunday with Italy preparing from the dressing room that is always filled by Lazio.
Care was described as England’s Alexis Sanchez by Eddie Jones last autumn after he stepped off the bench to mastermind victory over Australia with a series of clever chip kicks that instigated a rapid flurry of late tries.
Passionate Liverpool fan Care hopes the memory of Totti, who made over 600 appearances for the only club he served throughout a 25-year professional career before retiring in 2017, will inspire a similarly successful display this weekend.
“It would be cool to channel my inner Totti! I sat in his seat two years ago, which was pretty cool,” Care said.
“There was a race in the changing room – number 10 Totti is the one you want to sit in. I had Totti’s place straight away, easy.
“As a big football fan, I looked up to him as one hell of a player and a one-club man. It’s pretty cool to play at the same stadium as such a legend.
“It’s an amazing stadium with loads of history and obviously being a big football fan it’s a great place to go and play.”
Care has emerged as a lethal asset for England when replacing Ben Youngs in the final quarter, his quick thinking and injection of pace picking apart opponents as they tire.
His blistering cameo in the record 30-6 victory against the Wallabies was Care at his best, but the Harlequins scrum-half is determined to be seen as more than a late reinforcement, the role he has played in all but six of his 23 appearances under Jones.
“Eddie knows I want to start. He just says keep doing what you’re doing. You’ll start some you’ll finish some,” Care said.
“Whatever role I’m needed to play to help this team win games, I’m more than happy to do.
“Everyone wants to play as much as they can but I know how good a player Ben Youngs is and if the team feels that he should start then I’ll come on and do my bit.
“If the finishers do quite well you might get stuck as a finisher but I’ve been around a while now and I’m not going to throw my toys out of the pram.
“Eddie’s given me a big carrot to crack on and either go out and be a 70-80 cap player who didn’t really do an awful lot or go out and win a World Cup and see what happens after that.”
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