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Last Updated: Monday, 13 August 2007, 17:13 GMT 18:13 UK
Guscott surprised at Farrell call
Andy Farrell in action for England against Wales
Farrell has won four England caps
Former England centre Jeremy Guscott believes Andy Farrell is lucky to make Brian Ashton's World Cup squad.

"Personally I am surprised Farrell is going," Guscott told BBC Radio 5live. "I think the experiment, as I would call it, with Andy has run its course.

"Once upon a time he was a world-class player and obviously has a great reputation in rugby league.

"But given what he has done in union to date, I think he can count himself very fortunate to be going on this trip."

Farrell is one of five centres in the party alongside Mike Catt, Jamie Noon, Mathew Tait and Dan Hipkiss, with Olly Barkley - back-up to Jonny Wilkinson at fly-half - also comfortable at inside centre.

606: DEBATE
Guscott believes Ashton, his old mentor at Bath, should have taken one of Dan Cipriani, Toby Flood or Nick Abendanon - who all missed the final cut - in Farrell's place.

"They are youngsters and have got time on their side, and people may say they can go in four years' time," Guscott said.

"But what a great experience it would be for them to go right now."

Farrell's inclusion was supported by his Saracens coach Alan Gaffney, however, who believes the 32-year-old "will be a great asset".

"He is a natural leader and a great talker and organiser on the pitch," Gaffney said.

'Faz' has worked hard for his place in the squad and deserves to be there

Saracens coach Alan Gaffney
"He is someone who has made great strides in rugby union, and a lot of people out there have underestimated what he brings to the team.

"He gives you a lot of 'go-forward' - and he can add a bit of grunt and power to the midfield if needed.

"But at the same time, he can spin the ball wide, play the game in tight if that is what's required, and he also possesses a strong kicking game.

"He has worked hard for his place in the squad, and he deserves to be there."

Leicester centre Hipkiss, who made his debut in the recent warm-up game against Wales, is the only newcomer in the England squad, although wing Paul Sackey (three caps), flanker Tom Rees (five) and number eight Nick Easter (five) are also relative Test novices.

At the other end of the scale, Catt, 36 next month, will be appearing at this fourth World Cup while Lawrence Dallaglio, 35, is preparing for his third.

I think Dallaglio's added experience will be valuable in this tournament

Jeremy Guscott

Former England captain Will Carling believes Dallaglio, who led England from 1997 to 1999 and again in 2004, could be a "divisive influence" on the squad.

"Sometimes the nature of someone like Lawrence can be a problem in a squad if he's not a captain and there are not very strong guys to keep him in check," Carling told 5live.

"They are obviously not going to make him captain at the World Cup. And if you take him, does he end up being divisive if he's not in the team?"

But Guscott believes Dallaglio's experience at the highest level will prove valuable to Ashton's men in France.

"Lawrence is an old hand and he is not going to do something like that," Guscott said.

"He knows he can bring the youngsters along and I think his added experience will be valuable in this tournament."

Former England scrum-half Matt Dawson believes his old team-mate still has some work to do on his fitness, however.

Jonny Wilkinson is tactically astute, but he doesn't have that electricity that Barkley and Flood have

Matt Dawson

Dallaglio played the final six weeks of last season nursing a cartilage problem in his left knee, and subsequently had a minor operation.

"If one thing came out of the game against France, just because of his injury, was that Lawrence wasn't fit enough," Dawson told 5Live.

"At the weekend he wasn't a stand-out player and I think Nick Easter will challenge for that number eight spot."

Dawson also expressed his shock at Flood's omission from the final 30-man squad.

"It was a huge surprise for me - his versatility and form have been outstanding," he said.

Dawson believes Barkley deserves his place though as Jonny Wilkinson's likely understudy after his display against France last weekend.

"What a difference an attacking fly-half makes to England," said Dawson.

"Olly had a great game - I've yet to see him have a poor game for England.

"He took the game to the French and if it wasn't on, he decided to make some moves, attack the line, as well as distribute.

"Flood is in that ilk. Jonny is very, very tactically astute, but he doesn't have that electricity, that real sharpness of pace off the mark that Olly and Toby have."

SEE ALSO
Tindall & Hodgson miss World Cup
13 Aug 07 |  English
Strettle ruled out of World Cup
09 Aug 07 |  Rugby Union
Ward-Smith offered Cup lifeline
07 Aug 07 |  English
White unavailable for World Cup
12 Jul 07 |  English
England release six from squad
13 Jul 07 |  English
Dallaglio makes training squad
15 Jun 07 |  English
Rugby World Cup 2007 fixtures
11 Jan 07 |  Rugby Union


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