Rugby Union

Ben Foden targeting England spot after return from injury

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Northampton Saints full-back Ben Foden is targeting an England recall after claiming he is in his best physical shape for two years, reports BBC Sport.

Foden's career has been plagued with injury problems and he missed Saints' pre-season with an ankle problem.

The 26-year old was also absent from England's autumn Tests back in 2012 and although he managed to begin to cement his place in Stuart Lancaster's side last season until he suffered a knee injury.

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England return

Foden - who has 34 caps for England - told BBC Radio Northampton: "I have struggled with injuries.

"In the last two years this is the first time I've felt like the old me and hopefully I can put in performances and press for that England shirt."

The full-back has unfortunately only featured as a substitute in Northampton's opening two games of the new Aviva Premiership season and due to the superb performances of James Edwards, Foden was worried he may not be able to earn his club place back - let alone receive a call-up to the national side.

"I feel James is a 13 - that's where he plays his best rugby," Foden joked.

"He's a quality player. He can play anywhere - 10, 12, 13, winger, 15. He's a great asset to our club.

"It's good for me to have that pressure. He's a natural footballer.

"After that game against Gloucester, I thought it might be a while until I get my shot but luckily I've managed to go out there and show why they selected me."

Problems for Lancaster

Owing to injuries to several key players - including Tom Youngs, Dan Cole, Mako Vunipola and Alex Corbisiero - Foden may be able to seize his opportunity in the side ahead of the World Cup next year.

Lancaster is due to name his elite squad in a few weeks time and former Northampton full-back Ian Hunter feels Foden could provide the spark England need to beat the world's best.

He said: "It's been a long hard slog for Ben going from injury to injury, but Saturday reminded us of why he's one of the most potent attacking full-backs in Britain.

"There is no doubt that Mike Brown is nailed on for the number 15 jersey - but the sight of a fit and confident Ben Foden will give him and England a gentle reminder that having the x-factor wins games."

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